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New media practices in Korea

February 11, 2009

by Ok Hye Ryoung
via Futures of Learning blog

Until the late 1990s, it was hard to imagine that one day Korea would become one of the most powerful players in the global digital media scene. Korea’s current prestige as an ‘IT power house,‘ ‘global digital test bed,’ ‘the most wired country,’ and ‘online gamers’ heaven’ seems to have arrived as a sudden revelation given that “fewer than 1 percent of South Korean residents used the internet in 1984 but by 2004 more than 71 percent of South Korean households subscribed to broadband net service”(Borland and Kanelos, 2004). Since 2002, Korea has been ranked first in the ITU’s Digital Opportunity Index (ITU, 2007), which shows that Korea is fully saturated in most sectors of ICT including games, mobile media, and Internet. In addition, as an early adopter of the latest new media services, Korea’s local experience has become more significant to understanding global new media culture and the dynamics between the local and global. For instance, due to the predominance of domestic technologies and services, Korea has been known for being a difficult market to crack for global Internet services. Yahoo and Google both experienced bitter failure. Recently, after a ten-month struggle, MySpace announced to shut down its local office and the Korean language service by the end of February (

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