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Naver CEO voices confidence in data backup

S. Korean IT giant’s quarterly operating profit falls for 1st time since Q1 last year

Choi Soo-yeon, CEO of Naver, speaks to reporters at the company’s new building 1784 in Panggyo, Gyeonggi Province, on April 13. (Naver)
Choi Soo-yeon, CEO of Naver, speaks to reporters at the company’s new building 1784 in Panggyo, Gyeonggi Province, on April 13. (Naver)

Naver CEO Choi Soo-yeon on Monday underscored the IT giant’s data stability, pointing out that the company’s services are being provided soundly.

“Established in 2013, data center Gak (Chuncheon) plays a linchpin role in offering (Naver’s) various services stably. With the high level of data backup and mirroring measures, we were able to normalize our services within a few hours in the wake of the recent fire at (SK C&C’s) data center,” said Choi in a conference call, following the company’s announcement of its third quarter earnings earlier in the day.

Naver logged 2.06 trillion won ($1.46 billion) in sales and 330 billion won in operating profits in the third quarter. The sales figure, which saw a 19.1 percent increase on year, was the largest the company has seen. The operating profits decreased by 5.6 percent on year, marking Naver’s first decline since the first quarter of last year. Its net income fell sharply by 28.3 percent on year to 231.6 billion won.

Choi said the company is contemplating ways for sustainable growth in the long term, highlighting the importance of not only recording short-term achievements but also maintaining mid- to long-term stability and keeping balanced investments.

“(Naver’s second data center) Gak Sejong, which is expected to be completed next year, is a part of our preemptive investment to improve the stability of Naver’s services even more,” she said.

Ironically, Choi’s confident remarks about the company’s data stability came a day after some of Naver’s major services such as blog, esports, map, news, online shopping and smart store malfunctioned for about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon.

Regarding the error, Naver said it was due to concentrated traffic without mentioning which service had the increased amount of network access.

During the malfunction period, Naver's esports service was streaming the fourth match of the League of Legends World Championship. About 200,000 people were using Naver’s esports service to watch the match. A Naver official said the error was fixed quickly after the company recognized it.

Choi also defended the short-term concerns over the acquisition of Poshmark, the largest social commerce marketplace in North America, having a negative impact on the company due to the anticipated operating loss from finalizing the acquisition.

Naver announced on Oct. 4 that it decided to acquire Poshmark for a total of $1.6 billion, leading to market worries and resulting in a steep drop of about 7 percent in the Korean IT company’s stock price the following day.

“We decided on the Postmark acquisition last month as we were actively reviewing investment opportunities that could create synergy with Naver’s core businesses and have high growth potential. We expect (the takeover) to be a pillar that leads Naver’s meaningful growth in the next five to 10 years,” she said.

As Naver’s webcomics service has solidified its Webtoon brand in different regions across the globe, including North America and East Asia with over 89 million paid users, the CEO said the company will do its utmost for a successful initial public offering of Naver Webtoon in the US within the next few years.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)

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