From Jobs to noodles, SERI lists year’s top 10 hits

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From Jobs to noodles, SERI lists year’s top 10 hits

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Yakult’s Kkokkomyeon instant noodles, Apple founder Steve Jobs and the mobile messaging application Kakao Talk were named on a list of the 10 most influential products, services, figures and events that reshaped social connections in 2011.

The list, compiled by Samsung Economic Research Institute, was released in the form of a report yesterday.

It was based on recommendations from experts and data acquired from an Internet survey of 7,725 SERI Web site subscribers who were asked to make their selections from a choice of 51 candidate items.

Yakult’s instant ramen Kkokkomyeon, a contraction of the Korean sound for a rooster crowing and the word for noodles, claimed the No. 1 spot after it created a new fad for white-soup noodles in a market traditionally dominated by spicy flavors.

“The key to Kkokkomyeon’s success is differentiation,” said Lee Jung-ho, SERI’s senior researcher in charge of the survey. “It differentiated itself from existing red soup ramen .?.?. and developed its own niche.”

Testament to its huge popularity, SERI said that over 70 million packets of Kkokkomyeon were sold within four months of its release in August. Yakult, the Korean company that makes the noodles, confirmed earlier this week that it will begin exporting the product overseas next year.

Apple co-founder and iPhone creator Steve Jobs was named second on the list in honor of his relentless efforts to produce innovative new products without fear of failure.

He was followed by Kakao Talk, a free instant mobile text messaging application that surpassed 30 million users worldwide in November, less than two years after it was released.

The MBC TV show “Survival: I’m a Singer,” which invites professional musicians to compete in an elimination-style program by singing other artists’ songs, was also included in the top five, as was Samsung Electronics’ hot-selling Galaxy S2 smartphone.

K-pop finished sixth, followed by the weekly Pension Lottery 520 and the Korean film “The Crucible” (“Dogani”), respectively. SERI said K-pop received extra credit for helping to spread Hallyu around the world.

The new lottery, which was launched in July, pays winners in monthly installments of 5 million won ($4,400) for 20 years. Tickets have routinely sold out weeks in advance except for on its debut, the institute said.

“The reason why the Pension Lottery 520 has been so successful is because it gives people hope that they live securely after they retire,” said Lee of SERI. “This product appeals to many people who feel increasingly insecure about life after they stop working.”

SERI estimates the lottery has already raised 160 billion won in sales this year.

“Consumers this year have been delighted by products and services that broke with conventional wisdom, as evidenced by [the popularity of] Kkokkomyeon and Steve Jobs, an icon of innovation,” Lee said. “The Crucible,” which raised the specter of a forgotten case of sexual abuse at a school for aurally impaired children, rounded off the top 10, along with retailers’ low-priced own brands and Pyeongchang’s winning bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics on its third attempt.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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