Yahoo exits South Korea market after 15 years of business

Yahoo has closed down its business operations in South Korea with the loss of several hundred jobs after 15 years in one of the world’s most wired countries.

The news came via South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, which said Yahoo’s withdrawal was completed on Monday.

“Yahoo will halt all products, services and content of Yahoo Korea starting Dec. 31 in addition to ending customer support in Korea on the same day,” the news agency reported.

The move comes as an increasing number of South Korean users turn to rival homegrown web portals such as Naver.com and Daum.net and at a time when the the Sunnyvale, California-based company is in the midst of a major restructuring of its business.

Yonhap said that though Yahoo once dominated the local search market, its share has plummeted over the years to less than one percent. “The company did not make it into the top 10 domains, whereas visitors to Naver and Daum hit 31.6 million and 28.3 million in November, according to data by KoreanClick,” the report said.

Yahoo stated in October that the decision to exit South Korea was part of its ongoing efforts “to streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that’s set up for long-term growth and success.” At the same time it said it was still committed to Asia, with Yahoo Auctions, for example, continuing to operate in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

Yahoo, once the biggest name in Internet search for web users around the world, has struggled in recent years. The challenging task of turning the business around was handed to former Google executive Marissa Mayer when she was appointed as CEO in July 2012.