Sunnyvale, California — Strictly abiding by its commitment as planned in October, internet pioneer, Yahoo, after 15 years, completed its exit from South Korean market before the end of the year, according to a brief report by the Yonhap News Agency.
As a matter of fact, this move also marks the first Asian market that Yahoo is leaving. Its market share had been on the decline there as people increasingly used competing Web portals, like Naver and Daum. The struggling web giant has closed down its business operations in South Korea with the loss of several hundred jobs after 15 years in one of the world’s most wired countries.
The news was communicated via South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, which mentioned Yahoo’s withdrawal was completed on Monday.
“Yahoo will halt all products, services and content of Yahoo Korea starting Dec. 31 in addition to ending customer support in Korea on the same day,” the news agency reported.
Yahoo disclosed its intention in October to withdraw from the country by the end of December. In a statement then, CEO Marissa Mayer said “this decision is part of our efforts to streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that is set up for long-term growth and success.” Since then, users who go onto the site have been greeted with a message that says it will be shut down by December 31 (link via Google Translate).
This drastic move comes as an increasing number of South Korean users turn to rival homegrown web portals such as Naver.com and Daum.net and at a time when the the Sunnyvale, California-based company is in the midst of a major restructuring of its business.
As Yonhap notes, Yahoo was progressively eclipsed in South Korea by local portal operators NHN and Daum Communications, besides, its share has plummeted over the years to less than one percent. “The company did not make it into the top 10 domains, whereas visitors to Naver and Daum hit 31.6 million and 28.3 million in November, according to data by KoreanClick,” the report said.
Amazingly though, Yahoo’s South Korean unit, which had been in operation since 1997, consisted of about 200 employees, delivered editorial content and handled the company’s advertising efforts in that country. However, it said it was still committed to Asia, with Yahoo Auctions, for example, continuing to operate in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
“The Korean operation has faced growing challenges over the past few years that now make scaling our business very difficult,” Yahoo said in a statement in October.
Yahoo, once the biggest name in Internet search for web users around the world, has struggled in recent years. Also, it is not the only company having trouble competing in South Korea. Lately, the company has also been cutting its less successful properties in other Asian countries: earlier in December, the Sunnyvale-based company shuttered its Chinese music service.
Others facing the trouble in the South Korean market are Motorola Mobility, which plans to close “most” of its operations in the country by 2013, according to a leaked internal memo. After long struggling with low handset sales in the Asian country, phone maker HTC closed its doors in South Korea in July.