Japanese venture support organization Youth Venture Summit held its Asia as One event last night at a Microsoft conference room in Seoul. The event brought together Japanese mobile companies Metaps and Mobcast, and Korean mobile companies IGA Works and A Kong (formerly Aiming Korea). Representatives from each company gave presentations on trends in the mobile market across both countries and Asia as a whole.
Over the last year Youth Venture Summit, run by a group of volunteers, has held several joint events to help make connections and share information between Korean and Japanese startups. In November 2011 the Summit brought several top Korean startups to Japan together with Seoul Space and provided networking opportunities, as well as a chance to showcase their companies at Techcrunch Tokyo. Youth Venture Summit also brought K Cube Ventures, including CEO Jimmy Rim to Japan in September 2012, followed by another Korean startup meetup in October.
At this most recent event, the head of Metaps APAC Chou Wai Cheong, began the night by speaking about the Japanese mobile market. Freemium models have all but taken over the US market and Cheong says that the Japanese market is also the same, with 95% of apps now using freemium models. Similar to the rise of Kakao games in Korea, 20% of top grossing apps on Google Play in Japan are Line related apps, the popular messaging app from NHN. Another major trend in Japan is the popularity of social card games, making up 60% of the top grossing apps. Cheong also commented on the rapid growth of the mobile app market.
“Everyday we see two or more new applications being released which means the competition gets stiffer but it also means that there is huge potential.”
Eric Shin, CEO from IGA Works, also touched on the Korean mobile market, focusing on the various aspects of advertising and marketing. Benjamin Park, managing director of A Kong, talked about the business schemes of Korea, Japan and China. He touched on some of the problems regarding localization including differences in culture.
“The problem is that even among these close countries games and user patterns are very different. We took on a baseball game to develop but apparently they don’t play baseball in China. There is no professional league, only an amateur one. We asked if people knew the rules but many didn’t, so you can’t sell it there.”
Director of Mobcast, Takashi Sato gave the final presentation and mentioned Korea as the most important market for the company. Mobcast focuses mainly on sports games geared towards a male audience. With 2.8 million users already, Sato says that the company has goal of increasing this to 10 million users by next year. In November last year, Mobcast announced that it would form a business partnership with Korean game company Neowiz as it attempts to break into the East Asia market. Sato also revealed plans for an international online football championship that would feature players from different countries around the world competing in a live tournament.
Big ups to all to all the volunteers who put in hard work to make the event happen!