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Korean software developer seeks overseas push via tie-ups with IT giants

All News 15:00 January 11, 2020

By Joo Kyung-don

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Hancom Group, South Korea's leading office software developer, aims to expand its global presence by strengthening collaboration with information technology (IT) giants from the United States and China, the group's chief has said.

Hancom was one of some 390 South Korean firms that showcased its products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest tech expo, in Las Vegas, Nevada, which wrapped up its 2020 edition Friday.

Kim Sang-chul, chief of Hancom, said the group's top goal is to go global by boosting business ties with U.S. tech titan Amazon and China's state-run iFlytek.

"This is the right time for our software to go global," Kim said at his press meeting Wednesday, with Korean reporters on the sidelines of CES 2020. "I believe our software has reached the world-class level, and we need to better expand our global presence by working together with global companies like Amazon."

This photo provided by Hancom Group on Jan. 9, 2020, shows the group's Chairman Kim Sang-chul at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)

According to Kim, Hancom's global presence only accounts for 0.5 percent in the global office software market that is dominated by Microsoft Corp. but aims to increase that market share to 5 percent in the near future.

"Five percent global market share in this industry means you can make 1 trillion won (US$860 million) in sales," Kim said. "We'll first target the Southeast Asian market."

In 2018, Hancom posted sales of 216 billion won.

Hancom signed as a South Korean partner to Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud platform, and provides its office software solutions.

"Last year, Amazon ramped up its battle against Microsoft, and to better get closer to its target, Amazon needs us," Kim said. "Amazon and Hancom are moving forward together and as Linux and cloud-based systems rise, I think we can get new opportunities."

With Chinese tech leader iFlytek, Hancom will beef up its artificial intelligence-powered education business. Last year, Hancom set up an AI joint venture with iFlytek named Accufly AI.

"We'll blend our forte with Chinese firms' ability to enter the new global market," Kim said. "We're currently in talks with three major Chinese companies."

Kim said U.S.-China trade tensions actually provide a good business opportunity to Hancom.

"Chinese firms can't enter the U.S. and vice versa," he said. "But if they join hands with us and create a joint venture than they can enter both the U.S. and China markets, which is also good for us."

This image provided by Hancom Group on Jan. 9, 2020, shows its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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