SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — Naver is continuing its efforts to venture out into other fields, with the latest goal being a mobile property service after being accused of trying to dominate the desktop online property industry.
Despite the South Korean online search giant’s official stance that it will remain as an open platform for other businesses to take part in, the company has been leading the online property service industry de facto over the past three years, and many industry experts believe the internet giant is motivated by its longing to collect big data for the property market, which could prove valuable in the near future.
Naver was reportedly in touch with mobile property giant Zigbang recently to discuss the prospect of working together, but the talks were not fruitful, according to industry sources on Tuesday.
According to an inside source in the online property industry who wished to stay anonymous, Naver has been allegedly reaching out to other property service providers for possible business agreements in an effort to expand its presence.
“I’ve heard Naver is accelerating its efforts to expand its property database by offering collaboration deals to numerous possible business affiliates,” the source said.
Currently, Naver’s property directory works as an open platform hosting 10 property services including Budongsan 114, Doctor Apart and Speed Gongsil, while the web portal controls the layout and exposure of advertisements.
Naver previously ran its own property service until 2014, after criticism mounted that the search giant was dominating different fields of business and disrupting market fairness.
Since then, Naver claims it has taken a role as a mediator to connect property services and its users, but critics dispute the claim, as Naver still holds the right to choose who to work with and prioritize.
It’s not the first time Naver has been accused of meddling in other fields of business using its expansive user base.
Earlier last month, Naver faced criticism over its website design that was accused of blatantly favoring its business affiliates and compromising fairness as a web portal, which forced the company to retract plans to update the layout of its main portal site.
Naver was poised to go forward with the planned update, until growing criticism saw the IT giant confirm with Yonhap News Agency that it has put on hold the controversial changes indefinitely after holding an emergency meeting and considering the reaction from the industry.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)