YouTube Could Launch In Korea

    June 22, 2007

Effort is difficult to measure; it’s not like companies exert it in pounds or cubic feet.  Still, if I were to judge the effort Google has put into its South Korean operations, I’d guess the company has only tried harder in the US and China.  Now those rankings may change, as word spreads that a Korean version of YouTube could launch.

Koh Byung-joon of the Yonhap News Agency brings us the story, writing, “Google . . . is considering launching YouTube in South Korea during the second half of this year to capitalize on the fast-growing user created content (UCC) market here, a spokesperson said Friday.”

This venture could be very successful – Korea’s inhabitants are extremely tech-savvy, and YouTube doesn’t take much effort to use.  Yet one has to wonder what changes (or compromises) Google might make in order to satisfy regional preferences.

The search engine company has already redesigned its Korean home page – the famously clean interface was livened up with animated menus and small, cartoon-like pictures.  As for the search engine itself, users must enter their national resident registration number – a sort of Korean social security number – to proceed with “adult” searches.

Indeed, an article in The Age notes that Google “has been striving to boost its presence against competition from local firms in one of the world’s most wired societies.”

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Google went through with its plans to introduce YouTube in Korea.  But it’ll be interesting to see how closely that product resembles its American counterpart, and if – thanks to Google’s efforts – YouTube can succeed in that foreign market.