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Korean outsourcing work going to ethnic Koreans

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Aug 02,2006
Eager to cut costs, many local Internet firms are outsourcing labor-intensive tasks to China. Yet much of the work is actually going to ethnic Koreans, who can both read Korean and are more in step with the needs of Korean consumers. NHN, the operator of Naver, the largest Internet portal site in Korea, opened NHN China Technologies early last year to monitor Naver and Hangame, its game portal. The 200 or so employees of NHN China were hired to monitor the two portals for X-rated content and delete it. Monitors of Hangame also had to look for people offering to trade cyber cash for offline money and delete them from the system. NHN said the Chinese subsidiary worked so efficiently that it plans to have the firm work on developing “avatars” as well. Avatars are photos or images representing a computer user on, for example, online games or communities. “When developing avatars, the image file has to be colored in with pixels ― a laborious task ― and wages in China are many times lower than those in Korea, so we believe that if the Chinese staff can make avatars we can [cut costs],” an NHN spokesman said. The community Web site dcinside.com, well-known for its reviews of digital products and online photo albums, established a customer service center in Beijing in 2004 with 10 ethnic Korean employees to monitor its Web boards. “Ethnic Koreans are familiar with Korean culture and sentiments and produce good performance in terms of cost,” a Digital Inside spokesman said. Online game operators said that they are also considering transferring certain monitoring departments to China. “When sometimes thousands of people are playing online simultaneously, we need a lot of people to keep an eye on things, but that doesn’t mean that their workload is intense, which is why inexpensive Chinese labor is attractive,” an official at a major game developer said. by Wohn Dong-hee


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