[THE INVESTOR] Naver CEO Han Seong-sook apologized on Oct. 26 over allegations that the firm manipulates news on its platform, the most widely used search engine in Korea.
“I sincerely apologize for what has happened,” the CEO said at a conference call on the day Naver announced its third-quarter earnings. She also promised to take preventive steps.
Naver CEO Han Seong-sook
Last week, Naver came under fire for rigging its news site’s sports section in an attempt to downplay articles criticizing fraudulent acts committed by the Korean Football Association’s former and current executives. The “arrangement” was made based on requests from the KFA.
Naver, the largest internet portal operator here, has long been suspected of such manipulation, but this is the first time anything has been confirmed. The day after the disclosure, the CEO had issued an apology.
Meanwhile, Naver’s third-quarter operating profit came in at 312 billion won (US$277.50 million), up 10.6 percent on-year. Revenue stood at 1.2 trillion won, up 18.5 percent.
Naver’s business platform segment, which includes an online payment solution, earned 548.6 billion won in sales, accounting for 46 percent of the entire sales. The advertisement business, which posted 114.2 billion won in sales, took up 9 percent, while the IT platform and content service businesses, earned 58.6 billion won and 26.7 billion won, respectively.
The firm raked in 452.6 billion won from other platforms, including its mobile messenger Line.
Line alone earned 5.85 billion yen (US$51.60 million), up 19 percent from a year earlier with its sales standing at 42.5 billion yen.
The Naver CEO promised to expand its investments for startups. The Pangyo-headquarter firm has invested a total of 75 billion won to nurture the startup ecosystem, according to the company.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)