Google May Make Deal With South Korean Telecom

    June 5, 2007

Google’s had some success in South Korea, yet the search engine giant has also had to make a number of adjustments and compromises.  Now its tenacity may be paying off; reports indicate that South Korea’s biggest mobile phone operator may employ Google’s search-based advertising throughout its network.

Emphasis on “may.”  The Yonhap News Agency, which is based in Korea, writes, “SK Telecom mulls offering Google’s mobile-search ads this year.”

Yonhap also carries a quote from Yang Yoon-seon, head of the search department at SK Telecom, who said, “We are considering beginning Google’s mobile-search ads on our wireless Internet network during the second half of this year.”

If the deal goes through, expect Google to do the corporate equivalent of a backflip.  The search engine company has employed kind words, a cartoonish interface, and even some limited censorship in order to win fans in South Korea.

But a deal with SK Telecom would amount to more than a moral victory – Yonhap reports that the Korean company has “more than 20 million mobile phone subscribers” who would be exposed to Google’s ads.  “South Korea is one of the world’s most mobile-phone-savvy nations with more than 40 million out of its 48 million population having a mobile phone,” the article continues.

There’s no word on when confirmation of the arrangement might come, but in the meantime, I’m betting that a lot of gift baskets are making the journey from Mountain View to South Korea.