Yahoo has just announced that it plans to dump the Korean search market, as part of new CEO Marissa Mayer’s ongoing efforts to realign the firm’s global business and streamline its operations.
Mayer was hired back in July of this year, and since then the former Google executive has wrung the changes, hiring several of her old colleagues on multi-million dollar contracts and effectively trying to ‘Googleize’ many of its day-to-day operations.
For that reason, Mayer’s move to exit one of Asia’s biggest markets represents the most dramatic steps she has taken yet. Yahoo said in a statement that conditions had become “very difficult” in South Korea, where it was faced by a strong challenge not just from Google, but from local competitors such as Daum and Naver too.
Yahoo outlined the reasons for its Korean pull out in this press release:
Today Yahoo! announced that we plan to close our Korean business at the end of this year. 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.
Since 1997, our team in Korea has provided high-quality editorial content and services, and has built a successful search advertising network. We’re proud of the work they’ve done. But despite the hard work of the team, the Korean operation has faced growing challenges over the past few years that now make scaling our business very difficult.
According to Reuters, Korea is the first Asian market which Yahoo has officially pulled out of, but prior to this the company has already dropped a number of its biggest investments in the region. Back in May, Yahoo announced its intention to sell off the 40% stake it held in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba, followed this summer by its decision to pull out of Koprol, an Indonesian location-based social networking service similar to FourSquare.
However, Yahoo denies that it’s going to pull out of Asia altogether, adding in its statement that the company is “committed to Asia” and continues to see “a lot of opportunity for growth across our content properties, communications services and ecommerce sites.”