NHN Corp. says it's looking to become a worldwide player. The Korean Internet and online game company has announced it is expanding its operations with a gaming Web portal targeted toward the United States, planned for this fall.
NHN is one of South Korea's largest and fastest-growing Internet corporations. The company boasts that it alone controls 70 percent of the South Korean search-engine market--more than Google and Yahoo combined. In 2005, it outpaced Google in terms of stock-price gains, 218 percent to 103 percent.
Many industry watchers expect Korea's game market, already valued at $1.7 billion, to make substantial jumps in the near future, largely because of the country's penchant for online PC, mobile, and casual games.
Yet NHN believes the next big leap in online gaming will be in North America. That's one reason why the company has set up shop in Mountain View, California--where it is surrounded by "several potential key technology partners"--and is developing an American game-based destination.
"Our plan is to become a major player worldwide, so getting a foothold in the US is a critical step," said cofounder and global CEO Beom-Su Kim. "The market for online interactive entertainment in the US is much broader than the small hardcore segment, and much of it is under served."
The company, which employs 50 people and plans to add at least 30 more by 2007, did not elaborate on any of the US site's games or features. NHN's leading portal, hangame.com, features online versions of games such as Tetris and Pool.