July 28th, 2006
Cyworld is a kind of social network (“CY” is Korean for “relationship”).
In South Korea, nowadays there is a term a “Cyholic“. It’s hardly an unusual affliction. There are 18,000.000 Cyworld members (more than a third of South Korea population). And 90% of all Koreans in their 20s have signed up.
That makes Cyworld even more popular in South Korea than MySpace in the U.S.A. And its business plan is unique. The bulk of Cyworld revenue comes from the sale of virtual items worth nearly $300,000 a day, or more than $7 per user per year. (MySpace makes $2.17 per user per year).
For the past eight months, a team in San Francisco has been adjusting Cyworld to appeal to an American audience, trying to strip away the bubblegum kitsch that works so well in Asia without losing its cool.
It’ll be a hellish battle for the hearts and minds of teenage girls – Cyworld’s target audience. And it’s not as if MySpace is the only competition. Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, MSN Spaces, Multiply, TagWorld, Tribe.net, and Yahoo 360 are also engaged in this competition.
SK Communications bought Cyworld for $8.5 million in 2003. It was good timing. Cyworld introduced the mini-homepage to the users in 2001. By 2003 the user could use them to upload photos, write a blog, and create digital sketches.
[tag] MySpace, CyWorld, South Korea, USA, Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, MSN Spaces, Multiply, TagWorld, Tribe.net, Yahoo 360 [/tag]