The International Herald Tribune had a good article about Naver search engine
“No matter how powerful Google’s search engine may be, it doesn’t have enough Korean-language data to trawl to satisfy South Korean customers,” said Wayne Lee, an analyst at Woori Investment and Securities.
Naver’s success surprised many. When NHN, an online gaming company, set up the search portal in 1999, the site looked like a grocery store where most of the shelves were empty. Like Google, Naver found that with few people other than Koreans using the language, there simply was not enough Korean text in cyberspace to make a Korean search engine a viable business.
“So we began creating Korean-language text,” said Lee Kyung Ryul, an NHN spokesman. “At Google, users basically look for data that already exists on the Internet. In South Korea, if you want to be a search engine, you have to create your own database.”
Naver has so far accumulated a user-generated database of 70 million entries. Typical queries include why North Korea is building a nuclear bomb, which digital music player is best, why people have hair whorls and what a high-school boy should do when he has a crush on a female teacher.
The company also runs a popular online gaming site, known as Hangame in South Korea and Japan and Ourgame in China. But its Naver search engine – which sells advertisements and links to commercial Web sites that pop up when a user searches for certain words – generated 52 percent of NHN’s revenues last year. Naver took 61 percent of all Web search-related ads last year in South Korea, according to the company.