New Naver chief looks to upgrade technologies

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New Naver chief looks to upgrade technologies


Han Seong-sook, Naver’s CEO appointee, at the Naver Connect 2017 conference in southern Seoul Tuesday. [NAVER]

Han Seong-sook, the next CEO of Korea’s top portal site operator Naver, on Tuesday vowed to upgrade the company into a platform that translates top-notch technologies such as artificial intelligence into user-friendly services.

The Naver Connect 2017 conference in southern Seoul was Han’s first official public appearance since her promotion from vice president last month and she disclosed some of the company’s plans. Han’s term begins in March, when current chief Kim Sang-hun, a judge turned businessman, ends his three-year post.

“Naver’s transition into a technology platform essentially means we will offer next-generation technologies in easy and convenient tools anybody, especially small-business operators and content creators banking on our platform for business, can use,” Han said in her keynote on Tuesday.

In April, the company launched the so-called Project Flower, which supports small-business operators and individual content creators like web-cartoon artists to conduct business online through Naver’s platform.

More than 10,000 businesses have been founded through the project, the company said, and that number is expected to reach 11,000 by the end of the year. Among those small-business operators, 5,500 have annual sales of more than 100 million won ($84,920). These operators were granted technological support from Naver to conduct business online.

Naver’s TalkTalk service, a type of messenger that directly connects consumers with business owners, helped operators do business at any time or in any space and build relationships with customers. Consumers were able to send questions or requests to the operators and receive a response.

Naver Pay, an app developed by the portal provider, also offers convenient payment options to shopping mall operators on the platform.

For individual content creators, such as web-cartoon artists, musicians and designers, Naver introduced diverse marketplaces such as Grafolio market where artists can upload their illustrations with short stories or music files and sell their work. Independent content creators on the platform increased from 16,000 in April to 24,000 after the project was implemented.

Next-generation technologies, such as the voice-powered artificial intelligence AMICA, translator app Papago and three-dimensional indoor mapping robot will be developed to help businesses launch and easily create content through Naver, Han added.

Naver will expand its domestic investments from 200 billion won to 500 billion won in the next five years.

“About 50 billion won in investments will be used to support small-business operators’ growth while another 50 billion won will be used to build a better business ecosystem for individual content creators and help them go global,” the company said in a statement.

Han, after building her career at former search engine Empas, joined Naver in 2007. She has been leading the development of new services such as Naver V Live, a celebrity broadcasting service and Naver Pay.

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