Naver vows to garner 1 bil. global users within 5 years


Naver is aiming to secure more than 1 billion global users and post 15 trillion won ($12.2 billion) in sales within five years by actively expanding into Japan, North America and Europe, Choi Soo-Yeon, CEO of the Korean internet giant, said Wednesday.

“In the first 10 years of our business, Naver reached its Global 1.0 growth stage where we successfully launched Line in global markets. We also experienced Global 2.0 where we established various well-performing vertical services worldwide, including Snow, Zepeto and Webtoon,” Choi said during a press conference held at the firm’s new building in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

The CEO said the annual sales goal of 15 trillion won, as well as the target of 1 billion global users, are sufficiently achievable considering the company’s growth so far. Stating its sales grew to 1.85 trillion won in 2013 and 6.81 trillion won in 2021, the company will be able to raise the figure to 15 trillion in 2026. She added that the current number of its global users is about 700 million.

“We are now entering the Global 3.0 stage where Naver’s business portfolio, technological leadership and robust partnerships in Korea and overseas will create synergies to help us grow multiple times over. Team Naver, which is thriving through various businesses and partnerships, will work to establish a new global business ecosystem in Korea, Japan, North America and Europe in order to achieve our five-year goals of 1 billion global users and 15 trillion won in revenue.”

To secure more global users of its services, Naver will pursue different strategies for each international market.

For the Japanese market, it plans to introduce its entire business portfolio this year. The company will apply small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) business growth models, which have been piloted through Project Flower. The company has nurtured small business owners and creators using its technologies in Korea under the name of Project Flower for the past five years.

Naver also plans to further expand its business-to-business sectors with its Slack-like business collaboration tool Line Works, cloud computing service Naver Cloud and AI platform Clova as well as its core technologies, which enable assorted services and platforms.

The North American market will be centered on bolstering its global intellectual property value chain through its online comics and content businesses such as through Webtoons. In addition, Weverse, a global fan community platform in which Naver is collaborating with Hybe, will extend its reach into the U.S. market.

It will also strengthen partnerships in the European market. Naver Labs Europe is continuously enhancing its global-level competitiveness in AI technologies such as machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing.

Its fintech unit Naver Financial and online comics affiliate Naver Webtoon are mentioned as possible candidates for initial public offerings and to be listed on stock markets.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Kim Nam-sun said it is impossible to provide a definitive answer. “Please understand that I cannot give a definitive answer to the question of whether to list subsidiaries or not. It is also not allowed under the capital markets act. Instead, I will tell you about Naver’s management philosophy. We have never been shortsighted in running a new business. Our goal is to return the maximum value to Naver’s shareholders, employees and users,” Kim said.


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