Weekly VentureSquare Stories are summaries of some of the week’s top posts relating to the Korean startup and venture Industry.
Nobody can live without music. Whether one plays an instrument or simply listens to the radio, music is one of those things which is always there.I attended a piano academy when I was younger. I didn’t like learning the piano and I would beg my mum to let me stay home but she forced me to go. Eventually I quit and now I can’t read music — classical music seems like some different world to me.
Nevertheless, music has the power to change people. Korea’s number one classical music consultant, CEO Moon Da-hye majored in piano. She also started off playing the piano as a seven year old, chosen by her mother. It was frustrating to hear that the way piano was forcefully taught hadn’t changed much from the past. Moon thought that it would be better if children could experience and learn about other instruments other than just piano and began the country’s first “Children’s Music Talent Discovery Center” named “Dalgona”.
There are two programs, a twice a week, three month course and a once a week six month course and during this time children have the opportunity to physically get familiar with instruments and learn from music experts.This way children can experience a wide variety of instruments and choose what may become their lifelong instrument. It can be a very important moment for the child. If the child suddenly doesn’t like an instrument after learning it for a while then they can simply choose another instrument. Children who press on (unlike me) can have a longer experience through Dalgona’s musicians and teachers and through its network. The company also supports students as they grow in their ‘musical life’ by supporting them with development materials. Some parents have commented that they wish such a place had been available for them when they were young and Dalgona is in fact preparing a program for adults. Dalgona is currently located in Banpo but has plans to set up centers all over the country.
Find more details at dalgonamusic.com.
In 1998, the CEO of Nexon at the time, Kim Jeongjoo took a trip to Japan and noticed the incredibly long line of people lining up outside electronic stores. He was shocked to learn that this line, which looked well beyond 100 meters was made up of people waiting to buy Nintendo game consoles.That night he said to Japan-based researcher Choi Seung-woo, “Let’s make a company that can beat what Nintendo has.” At that time Nexon had just started getting into games but was more focused developing software. Afterwards, Kim came back to Korea and the company began to focus solely on gaming.
Nexon was originally founded in December of 1994 by Kim along with Song Jae-kyeong, Kim Sang-beom, Lee Min-gyo and others. Nexon was not a game company to start out with and instead was a company named ‘Web Office’ which developed internet solutions. The company also developed intranet systems for other companies and even developed the reservation system for Asiana Airlines in 1995. At the end of 1995, Nexon’s first online game “Kingdom of the Wind”, a graphic MMORPG was completed and paid service started in April the following year. The game was received well by gamers and was a groundbreaking game in terms of a multi-player platform. In October 1997 Nexon then released its second game “Legend of Darkness”.
It was after this second game release that Kim made his trip to Japan and felt e difference between what Nexon was at that time and the other major game companies. In December 1998 another game, “Elancia” was released, making Nexon the only company in Korea to release a new game every year. Nexon became a top name in the Korean gaming industry and continued to put out games, releasing Quiz Quiz, Crazy Arcade, Maple Story, Mabinogi and Kart Rider respectively.
While console games seemed to dominate the world, from another angle the PC market was also growing extremely fast. Nexon’s biggest advantage was that its games were made to be enjoyable for the user, so that young or old could play games without feeling confused about what to do. Though continually pushing out good products didn’t help profit, Nexon soldiered on and continued to produce content for its users.
Many rumors have also popped up over the years by suggesting that Nexon would go into the media or other businesses. Some rumors stated that the company planned to build a theme park on Jeju Island. Kim denies these rumors,
“Nexon does not have any plans to enter the movie, music or any other industry. We will continue to focus on games like we always have. We have not thought about becoming a media company and we don’t have the resources to do such a thing — just making games is difficult enough as it is.”
In 2010 Nexon, reported sales of 1 trillion won, not even 1/20 of Nintendo’s
sales in the same year of 21 trillion won. Nexon’s 310 billion won
profit also amounted to a mere 1/10 of Nintendo’s 3 trillion in profit.
Nevertheless, Nexon’s operating profit increased 49.9% in 2010, but
Nintendo’s dropped 35.8 percent. Nexon in 2011 is estimated to grow by
more than 30%, but Nintendo is expected to reduce in size. Kim’s
dream of beating Nintendo is slowly turning into a reality.
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