Tech product startups are always looking at new markets and frontiers to expand. Asia is without a doubt the most promising prospect for Indian startups given the proximity and the size of the market. Among the many Asian countries South Korea is definitely a market Indian startups should be looking at. I am in Korea to be part of BeLaunch, a startup event aimed to provide Korean startups a global platform and vice-versa. Going around Seoul, it’s not difficult to see the huge scope for apps and mobile related products and services in Korea as you only see smartphones being used by all consumers. Korean mobile users seem to use their smartphones all the time producing, consuming content and using mobile enabled services. South Korean conglomerate Samsung recently overtook Nokia as the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world.
Sagar Bedmutha, founder of Pune based Optinno launched their app ‘Z1 Contacts Backup Restore’ at BeLaunch. Z1 Contacts Backup Restore is an app that assures the most up-to-date and latest backup available on the cloud and email. This proprietary technology neither uses sync methods nor timer based functions yet it ensures ZERO click backup and 1 click restore convenience for the user. He chose to launch this product at BeLaunch as Korea is one of the biggest markets for Android-based smartphones in the world and sees Korea as a key market going ahead. “Our focus on Android Data Management App development and the very high penetration of Android here made Korea a very interesting market. We also plan to customize our other product ‘smsBlocker’ that blocks spam SMS to accommodate the Korean language.”
According to SK, KT and LG, the 3 major Telecom carriers in South Korea said more than fifty percent of their 50-million subscribers now use smartphones. From approximately 470,000 in 2009 to more than 10 million in March 2011 and to more than 20 million by late fall, the growth of the smartphone market in Korea has been one of the fastest in the world. Recently Google had ranked South Korea as the top “app-crazed” countries in the world based on Android app downloads.
According to Korea Small and Medium Business Administration, the number of venture capital firms in the country is around 260,000, which has increased by 11% over the last year. There is no dearth of angel investors and funders who are willing to partner with startups for their expansion in Korea.
BeSuccess, the company behind BeLaunch also has a consulting division which helps startups from abroad enter the Korean market. BeLaunch saw 20 startups from Korea and abroad across sectors like education, devices and social networking participate in the demo and 45 startups and companies took part in the startup booths.
South Korea is a country of almost 50 million people, with a high standard of living and high spending power. Korea has some of the best broadband and telecommunications infrastructure in the world. The tech savvy population does not mind spending money on digital tech products and services. It is certainly one of the key markets in Asia Indian startups need to watch out for. Korean companies are ubiquitous in India through brands like Samsung, Hyundai, LG etc, we hope to see Indian startups represent the tech innovation from India in Korea.
Note: YourStory is a media partner of BeLaunch.