By Jason Venter | 12-31-2012 | 6:00PM
Yahoo! remains a powerful company in North America, even as competition from Google prevents it from enjoying the dominant position that it once held within the search sector, but its presence has over the years grown less significant in a number of regions. In some areas, the Yahoo! name hardly means anything. Its performance in some Asian countries may serve as an unpleasant glimpse at the company’s overall future unless it is willing to make difficult decisions and reinvigorate its faltering pulse under the leadership of its new CEO, Marissa Mayer.
South Korea has for a long time been one of the countries giving the company the most difficulty, and Yahoo! announced earlier in December that it would be ceasing operations in that region by the end of this month. According to a TechCrunch report, the end finally came yesterday. The site had for some time included a message that it would be closing, and now Yahoo! has made good on that promise.
A translated post on the Yonhap News Agency site indicates that Korean accounts on the service will be deactivated today, if they haven’t been already due to differing time zones. That change should affect something like 1 percent of the local market, according to Yonhap, despite the fact that Yahoo! once was dominant. Now the competition from the likes of Naver and Daum has proven too fierce.
“This decision is part of our efforts to streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that’s set up for long-term growth and success,” Marissa Mayer said in October, when Yahoo! was cutting 200 jobs in the region.
Yahoo! isn’t the only company that has had difficulty in South Korea, either. Smartphone manufacturers Motorola and HTC have also announced plans to pull out of the area, thanks in large part to competition from LG Electronics and Samsung. It’s worth noting that Samsung is actually providing fierce competition worldwide, not just in Korea.
Though in general it can be seen as unfortunate when a company is forced to contract its operations, Yahoo! has a long and difficult path ahead of it and the cessation of South Korean operations was likely the right move. The company stands the most chance of success if it can focus on the things it is doing well and part with ventures that negatively impact its bottom line. It’s easy to see why Yahoo! would choose to pull out of South Korea when its presence there has shrunk so significantly. There’s no use spending a fortune tilting at windmills.