Naver breaks gloom with solid results on e-commerce, content

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Naver breaks gloom with solid results on e-commerce, content

Naver is a rare bright spot in a market plagued by weak earnings and dramatic losses.

The company credited e-commerce and the content business for its good fortunes in its earnings announcement released Thursday.

Naver’s net profit grew 54 percent to 134.9 billion won ($109.5 million) in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

Its sales totaled 1.7 trillion won, which is up 14.6 percent. Operating profit rose 7.4 percent to 221.5 billion won during the period.

By business, its online shopping platform served as a major contributor to growth since shoppers flocked to digital shopping malls to minimize human contact.

Integrated into the Naver portal site, Naver Shopping brings together a vast array of products from online malls; small, independent shops; department stores; and outlet malls.

Transactions at Naver Shopping grew 56 percent, though the company declined to reveal total sales.

The growth translated into a surge in the use of Naver Pay, as the payment service is the main payment option.

Quarterly transactions broke 5 trillion won for the first time, according to CEO Han Seong-sook during a conference call.

IT platform sector sales, which include Naver Pay and cloud computing sales, grew by 49.4 percent to 148.2 billion won.

Content services reported 55.4 billion won in sales, up 58 percent, buoyed by the increasing popularity of its webtoons.

Naver’s Chief Financial Officer Park Sang-jin warned of tough times ahead since the impact of declining advertising sales will take hold in the second quarter.

“The demand for advertising is not that good given that corporations start making advertising contracts one or two months ahead,” he said during the conference call.

The CEO vowed to lend a hand to small- and medium-sized enterprises in this time of great uncertainty.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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