South Korean Internet game giant targets US market

SAN FRANCISCO, July 24, 2006 (AFP) – South Korea’s top online video game website announced plans on Monday to become a player in the US market this year.

NHN Corp. revealed that it discretely set up shop in Mountain View, California, the home turf of Internet juggernaut Google, and planned to roll out game and search services targeted at computer users 18 to 34 years old.

"Our plan is to become a major player worldwide, so getting a foothold in the United States is a critical step for NHN," said the company’s global chief executive officer Kim Beom-Su.

"The market for online interactive entertainment in the United States is much broader than the small hardcore segment and much of it is underserved. We’re using our knowledge of how to appeal to a wide range of online gamers and applying it to the American market."

NHN USA has 50 employees and is expected to have more than 80 by end of the year, according to the company.

While explaining the move, NHN cited DFC Intelligence research firm projections that the worldwide video game market should quadruple to more than 13 billion dollars by 2011, with North America leading the growth.

NHN claimed to be consistently ranked the leading Internet game and search site in South Korea and to operate the top online game destinations in the Japan and China markets.