Weekly Korean Tech Round-up – 7 News Items That Caught Our Eye
2014 10월 13

Kakao Talk Promises that encrypted messeging will be available this year
Daum Kakao, the operator of South Korea's most popular mobile messenger Kakao Talk, said it plans to adopt a "privacy mode" in an apparent bid to allay users' concerns about security. There has been much in the Korean press on this matter recently and Telegram has been making the most of the situation, garning massive local suport in Korea.
"The new privacy mode in Kakao Talk will encrypt chat records and erase received messages," Daum Kakao said, adding that the service will be launched this year. The new feature will be available for users from all countries, it added. From Yonhap News

Samsung Announces 60% Drop in Profits
Samsung has reported that its third-quarter operating profit plunged nearly 60 percent from a year earlier to an estimated 4.1 trillion won (US$3.8 billion), apparently as its key business continued to suffer despite the corporate-wide effort to revitalize its earnings. The preliminary estimate represents a 59.6 percent fall from the company's operating profit of 10.16 trillion won a year earlier, it said in a regulatory filing. The figure also marks a 42.98 percent plunge from the operating profit of 7.19 trillion won in the second quarter. From Yonhap News.

Korea's Exports of ICT Grow
South Korea's exports of information, communication technology (ICT) products rose from a year earlier last month on growing shipments to China, the government said Tuesday. Shipments of ICT products came to US$15.43 billion in September, up 2.2 percent from the same month last year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. From Yonhap News

Image of LG's new round smart watch from Korea Hankyung Daily

Image of LG's new round smart watch from Korea Hankyung Daily

LG's First Smart Watch To Hit The Market Tomorrow
LG Electronics is set to release “LG G Watch R” in the domestic market on October 14.The “G Watch R,”priced at 352,000 won, will be released simultaneously in major countriesworldwide, including Korea. The “G Watch R,” whichwas disclosed first at the IFA 2014, held in Berlin, Germany, last month, wasselected as the Best of IFA 2014 by local IT media. It is mounted with around-type plastic OLED display, first among smartwatches, drawing sharpattention from spectators there.With a full-circle design, the smartwatchemploys plastic OLED, a highly-acclaimed material suitable to make wearabledisplay thinner and lighter. Just like premiumfashion watches, “G Watch R” also adopts a metal body and a natural leatherstrip.To offer classic feel, the strap has a 22-mm width, the standard for regularwristwatches. Other eye-catchingfeatures include a 410-mAh battery, a user interface that can connect with all4.3-inch-plus smartphones, an always-on function, and a pulse sensor. From Hankyung News.

Samsung Announces Plans for World's Largest Semiconductor Plant
Samsung Electronics has announced a plan to build the largest semiconductor production line in the wrold, at a location outside Seoul, investing over KRW15 trillion in phase 1. Phase-1 will see construction of the semiconductor production line on the 790,000m2 plot in the first half of next year. Originally, Samsung planned to start the operation at the end of 2018, but due to market upturn, including growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) and robots, the company advanced the project by more than a year.
Once fully completed the site will be about twice as large as the memory line site in Xian, China. Additionally, the amount to be invested in phase 1 alone is much more than the KRW12 trillion invested in Hwaseong Line 16. From the viewpoint of the domestic economy, once complete the development's economic effects would amount to a total of KRW41 trillion and up to 150,000 new jobs. From ETNews.

Coupang investments boost mobile shopping
As more Korean consumers lean toward buying direct from foreign brands online and e-commerce giants like Amazon, local social commerce site Coupang is strengthening its mobile services to stay competitive and differentiate itself.
The company already has a significant presence in the local market, saying it records a higher number of visitors to its mobile shopping mall every month. According to Nielson KoreanClick, Coupang has maintained the No. 1 position in the Korean e-commerce market in terms of monthly visitors to its mobile shopping application for 26 straight months since July 2012. For Coupang, about 75 percent of shopping transactions are made through its mobile app.
According to data from the Financial Supervisory Service, social commerce companies WeMakePrice and TMon last year showed operating losses of 71 billion won ($66.9 million) and 36 billion won, respectively. Coupang has not disclosed sales and profit data.
Nonetheless, Coupang decided to expand investment. “Although Coupang is a retailer, our main channel nowadays is mobile e-commerce,” said a spokesman from Coupang. “We are working hard to keep improving users’ experience.”
One of the company’s strategic investments in the mobile sector was the May acquisition of Silicon Valley data analysis service developer CalmSea, which specializes in database management systems, big data analysis platforms and retail management optimization program. Former CalmSea CEO James Dai serves as Coupang’s chief technology officer, working at the company’s U.S. office.
In addition, U.S.-based venture firm Sequoia Capital invested $100 million at the end of May, which Coupang plans to use to further strengthen its mobile service.
“Through the investment, we hope to develop mobile platforms and shipping services that will enhance our customers’ shopping experience,” said Bom Kim, founder and CEO of the company. From Joongang Daily News.

Samsung Researcher Named Among Young Innovators
Lee Jin-ha, a researcher at Samsung Electronics, has been selected as one of the "Innovators Under 35" in the September/October issue of MIT Technology Review.
TR35 are "young geniuses on a path to change the world." Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google; Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo; and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, were all once named as young innovators by the magazine.
Lee (27) is Korea's fourth TR35 entry after Ham Don-hee, a professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Harvard University (2008), Kim Dae-hyeong, a professor of Seoul National University (2011), and Rebeca Hwang, a Korean Argentine who has founded a venture fund that supports startups in Silicon Valley (2013).
Lee was credited with developing the "space top" technology that allows users to "reach inside" the screen on a 3-D desktop and "flip through digital documents and windows," without having to use a mouse or a keyboard.
He attracted global attention last year when he introduced the technology at TED Talks, the world's largest knowledge-sharing event. From Chosun News.
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