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Naver and Daum go head-to-head in South Korea

Global marketing news – 18 May 2015

Daum and Naver go head-to-head in South Korea

Two of South Korea’s biggest online companies are busy buying up local startups in a bid to get ahead in the emerging mobile market.

As consumers are continuing to move from personal computers to mobile devices, both companies are hoping to target these new users with a range of new mobile services.

Launched in 1999, Naver, which was the first Korean web portal to have its own search engine, is busily buying up apps. The company is hoping to move into global markets, in particular Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand, using its popular mobile messenger platform, Line.

It is being closely followed by Daum, the second largest web portal in South Korea. The company recently acquired an investment firm in an attempt to locate promising local startups.

Both companies are responding to the shift away from PCs by focusing on more visual services that are more easily accessible on a smaller, mobile device.

Baidu leads in artificial intelligence benchmark

The Chinese search giant has achieved astonishing results in recent industry benchmarking, proving the idea that computers might one day surpass humans.

Its secret weapon is Minwa, the company’s supercomputer. Out of a database of over 1 million pictures, Minwa taught itself to sort them into approximately 1000 categories. This meant that it had to distinguish between objects such as a meat loaf and a French loaf.

In previous tests, humans could visually identify most of the images with an error rate of 5%. Minwa had an error rate of 4.58%.

But the Baidu computer is not the only one to beat humans.

Computers run by Microsoft and Google both had an error rate of just below 5% in the same tests, something that would have been inconceivable just 5 years ago.

These deep learning algorithms are pretty recent developments, but they are already being used in the computing world.

Baidu is using an even bigger computer to analyse speech data as it hopes to improve the company’s Chinese-to-English language speech recognition service.

South African e-commerce market still in its infancy

Online shopping in South Africa is only expected to account for 1% of total retail sales in 2016, according to research by World Wide Worx.

Whilst online retail is expected to increase by 26% year on year in 2015, it is clear there is still a long way to go.

The overall retail growth in South Africa is around 7%, in line with the global figure of 6%. However, inflation eats into retail sales and the traditional brick and mortar market is still dominant.

South African consumers are also unsure about how safe online shopping is.

Mobile retargeting has plenty of room for growth in Japan

A poll by AdRoll, a global tech company, this week revealed that nearly half of Japanese marketers do not use retargeting.

46% of those polled said they did not even have a mobile site, whilst three in ten marketers thought that there was not a good user experience yet for mobile ads. This is despite the fact that spending on mobile ads has increased by 40% in the past year alone.

The figures for retargeting, which is useful for driving sales and building brand awareness for traditional marketing, need to catch up. Especially as mobile phone usage in Japan is expected to reach 54.3% of the Japanese population in 2015.

Google shuts down its map maker following hacks

A series of spam attacks has led to Google temporarily taking its map editing tool offline.

A recent case where an image was uploaded of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple logo, is the latest in a long list of inappropriate content that has been added to the site.

Google recently introduced measures to improve its spam detection system, but it seems that these were not good enough.

Currently all edits go through a manual review process but it is clear that a platform of this size needs a more scalable solution.

Webcertain’s global marketing news bulletins are daily 5-minute videos, providing marketers with the latest international digital marketing news in an easy-to-digest format.

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Immanuel Simonsen

Research Manager at Webcertain
As the Research Manager of multilingual web marketing agency Webcertain, Immanuel heads up the company’s global market research activities and large content marketing projects. He is the author of several reports and guides, including ‘The Essential Guide to Rel-Alternate-Hreflang’ and ‘The Webcertain Global Search and Social Report 2013’. Apart from being a tutor at the International Marketing School -- teaching online marketing professionals on business opportunities around the globe -- Immanuel is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, a leading event series dedicated to multilingual search and social media marketing.

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