Cyworld to Rival MySpace

Dennis Faas's picture

Korea's number one online social network, Cyworld, recently launched into the U.S. market on August 15, competing with the U.S.-based

What is Cyworld?

Cyworld, which was started in 1999, leads Asia's social networking scene with localized sites in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. In the Korean language, Cyworld means "relationship world" and the media is touting its U.S. debut as a "refreshing and essential platform for the burgeoning online U.S. social networking sector." (Source:

Entering into the U.S. Market

The U.S. Cyworld team is based in San Francisco and will utilize the company's existing infrastructure and expertise to tap into the U.S. market. The site is hugely popular with 20-somethings in its native Korea where 9 out of 10 people in the 24-29 age bracket are members. (Source:

Cyworld's CEO Henry Chon has high hopes for the U.S. site which will target users between the ages of 16 and 24. Chon noted that Cyworld differs from other social networking sites, such as MySpace, as its goal is to facilitate communication between people who already know one another. The target demographic is slightly older than the MySpace crowd, and allows users to join and create clubs. (Source:

Will Cyworld be Successful in the U.S.?

Critics are wondering how well Cyworld will be able to compete with MySpace, the U.S.'s current social networking giant which attracts an average of 230,000 members per day. It may be unlikely for users to leave their friends on MySpace to jump networks, so current social network users may not buy into what Cyworld has to offer.

In addition to trying to get customers to use Cyworld, market saturation is also a concern. Rob Enderle, an online consumer behaviour analyst notes that "In America, I'd say we're beyond saturation and we're quickly reaching a point of overkill … So I'm not sure why a Korean company would want to try to compete." (Source:

To view Cyworld's new U.S. site, log onto:


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