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   Strategies & Market TrendsKorea

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To: Sam Citron who wrote (203)3/5/2009 1:07:05 PM
From: MistySteel
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Nucor’s continued no layoff policy is quite admirable and more so in the midst of the current economic challenges. Also, their “share-the-pain” program should be a SOP for all companies in crisis.

Thanks and good luck on KEF… I need to look at their projections. I’d entered EWY on the 52 wk low a couple of days ago and exited yesterday… uncertain still to add to the long position. Oh, I intra played KF yesterday and will be watching to enter again for a possible long position.

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To: Sam Citron who wrote (201)3/5/2009 2:19:00 PM
From: Nancy
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The Koreans did the same thing in the past recessions.

Actually I remember reading Koreans donated their private Gold collection - bars, coins, jewels, to the government, to help the country in the 1988 Asian financial crisis.

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From: Sam Citron3/12/2009 12:52:02 PM
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Qualcomm Faces South Korea Antitrust Probe [WSJ]

Qualcomm Inc. said antitrust regulators in South Korea are raising complaints about some of the chip maker's business practices.

The San Diego-based company said the Korea Fair Trade Commission issued a case examiner's report containing allegations with respect to the lawfulness of certain practices associated with sales of Qualcomm chipsets, which are widely used in cellphones.

Qualcomm said the practices are related to the "integration of multimedia solutions" into Qualcomm chipsets, as well as "rebates and discounts provided to its chipset customers." A spokeswoman said she could not elaborate about the allegations, noting that the report is confidential.

Qualcomm said the report does not indicate what specific remedies may be sought by the agency. The company added that "Qualcomm believes its actions have been lawful and over the next several months plans to submit its response to the allegations."

South Korea was one of the first markets to make widespread use of Qualcomm's variant of digital cellular technology, known as code division multiple access. Handset makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. have been major customers.

Qualcomm disclosed in 2006 that its offices had been visited by officials of the Korean agency, seeking information about seeking information about its dealings with Samsung, LG and Pantech Co. Qualcomm has said it was also named in complaints filed in South Korea by rivals Texas Instruments Inc. and Broadcom Corp.

The company has frequently battled in court with others over its patents and its practices for licensing them, which require handset makers that use its chips to pay royalties. The European Commission has been investigating such issues after complaints from companies there.

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From: Julius Wong3/17/2009 9:13:29 PM
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Kookmin Bank (KB)

Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. (SHG)

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From: Julius Wong4/5/2009 8:08:49 AM
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Korea ADR

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From: Sam Citron4/13/2009 2:21:08 PM
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Will Mobile Web Become More Affordable?
Mobile-phone carriers are looking to make data services more affordable.
/ Korea Times File

By Kim Tong-hyung
Staff Reporter

The mobile Web is here, but the paucity of excitement is evident among wireless users who are reluctant to pay premiums for services they rate as dull and patchy.

Maybe it's time to give the unused hotkeys another look, however, as mobile telephony operators, desperate to hit the data goldmine, are finally showing real commitment in making portable Web browsing more affordable.

In a news conference last week, SK Telecom, which controls more than half of the country's wireless market, said it will be announcing new flat-rate plans for its mobile Internet services sometime around June.

This will allow SK Telecom customers to pay a single monthly charge for all their data transfers, with no separate counting of minutes, content or megabytes of downloads.

In rolling out its new data rates, the company is trying to steal the thunder of its industry archrival, KTF, which is looking to expand the package of content available to users of its flat-rate plan, which charges 10,000 won (about $7.5) per month.

Although SK Telecom has yet to decide on the specifics, the new flat-rate program, which promises unlimited data usage, will charge users between 20,000 and 30,000 won per month.

LG Telecom, the smallest of the three mobile carriers, which has a 6,000-won flat-rate plan for its ``Oz'' data services, is also planning to introduce new rate plans as early as next month.

Consumers have been lukewarm about the previous flat-rate plans provided by the companies, with their monthly data allowances drying up after posting a few blog posts or trotting around a few Web pages. And the flat rates only cover browsing activities; subscribers still have to pay separately for downloaded content.

SK Telecom currently provides a monthly plan that allows users to use about 33 megabytes for 10,000 won, while KTF provides 8.4 megabytes at the same rate.

SK Telecom's new flat rate will quash such cynicism, according to Oh Se-hyun, who heads the company's convergence and Internet business division.

``The problem now is that consumers signed to our 10,000-won flat-rate plans are dumbfounded when they learn they are paying separately for the programs they downloaded, and we intend to eliminate this confusion,'' Oh said.

``Our new flat rates will make things simple, allowing users to access an unlimited amount of content on a fixed charge. Currently, more than 2 million of our subscribers are signed to data flat-rate plans, and we plan to expand this number substantially through the new rates,'' he said.

However, with it simplifying costs and refusing to charge separately for content downloads, it remains to be seen how data revenue and content providers will be affected.

With increasing numbers of wireless users switching to data-enabled handsets, mobile carriers have been hoping for data to have a bigger role in the growth of average revenue per user (ARPU), with voice sales beginning to stall here, a country that has more mobile phones than heads.

However, despite the latest improvement in technology, data services in general remain slow and awkward and have no chance at competing with conventional computer-based services in terms of content, which has critics questioning whether the mobile Web will ever be fully embraced by consumers.

However, price continues to be the biggest problem. Wireless users won't touch the data services with a 10-foot pole when complicated rate plans have them paying separately for content use and data traffic.

Many of those who actually click the track-wheels on their handsets have sworn never to do so again.

During last month's World Baseball Classic (WBC), an international baseball tournament held in the United States in which South Korea finished second, online message boards were smoking with complaints from mobile users who were hitting the roof after receiving bloated bills.

Mobile-phone carriers charge about 2 to 3.5 won per kilobyte, so it takes about 5,000 won (about $3.7) to download a pop song (about 3 megabytes) and about 10,000 won for five minutes of television streamed through data networks.

So many hardcore baseball fans who couldn't resist the urge to watch the games later found themselves paying over 100,000 won in data charges.

The new flat rates introduced by the wireless carriers would make it easier for wireless users to avoid such ``data-bomb'' bills.

Despite the vast improvement in technology, wireless carriers are seeing stunted growth in mobile data revenue, which combined to account for less than 18 percent of their total revenue last year.

SK Telecom's average data revenue per user hovers around 9,000 won (about $6.7) per month, after reaching over 11,000 won in December 2007. KTF is getting about 7,000 won, while the number is around 3,000 won for LG Telecom.

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From: Paul Kern5/24/2009 11:13:45 PM
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Asian Stocks Decline on North Korea Nuclear Test Report

By Darren Boey

May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks fell after Yonhap News reported that North Korea held a nuclear test earlier today. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent to 99.15 as of 11:49 a.m. in Tokyo after earlier climbing 0.8 percent.
Last Updated: May 24, 2009 22:49 EDT

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From: Paul Kern8/2/2009 5:29:42 PM
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Korean Bank Profits Fall as Slump Forces Larger Loan Provisions

By Bomi Lim

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Combined profit at Kookmin Bank, South Korea’s largest, and local rivals fell 57 percent in the first half of 2009 as the nation’s economic slump forced them to more than triple provisions against bad loans.

Net income at the 18 lenders fell to 2.8 trillion won ($2.3 billion) in the first six months, from 7.6 trillion won a year earlier, the Financial Supervisory Service said today in an e- mailed statement. Loan-loss reserves jumped to 7.1 trillion won from 2.3 trillion won, the agency said.

Earnings improved from three months earlier in the quarter ended June 30 as growth in bad loans eased, letting banks set aside fewer provisions, the agency said. Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded at the fastest pace in almost six years in the second quarter, slowing the pace of defaults.

Combined second-quarter profit totaled 2.3 trillion won, almost four times the 600 billion won earned in the first three months of the year, according to the agency. Second-quarter provisions slowed to 2.6 trillion won from 4.5 trillion won in the three months to March.

“There are still uncertainties about whether improvements in company earnings and the global economic recovery will continue,” the financial watchdog agency said. “Banks should continue to strengthen credit-risk management.”

The agency said on July 30 it will tell banks to lower their bad-loan ratios to less than 1 percent by year-end. Non- performing loans accounted for 1.5 percent of total bank lending at the end of June.

Kookmin on July 30 reported a 65 percent drop in second- quarter profit. Earnings fell by 59 percent at Shinhan Bank, an arm of the country’s second-biggest financial group by market value, and by 43 percent at Hana Bank, the fourth-biggest lender.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bomi Lim in Seoul at
Last Updated: August 2, 2009 17:00 EDT

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From: Sam Citron9/1/2009 2:15:48 PM
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1:28PM Hyundai Motor America reports August sales increased 47% YoY to 60,467 units.


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From: Julius Wong10/9/2009 7:32:35 AM
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Gravity Co., Ltd (GRVY)

Gravity Co., Ltd. engages in developing and distributing online games, as well as in other related businesses principally in the Republic of Korea, the other countries in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. It offers multiplayer online role playing games, casual online games, mobile games, and animation and character-based merchandise. The company?s principal product includes Ragnarok Online, an action adventure-based multiplayer online role playing game that combines cartoon-like characters, community-oriented themes, and combat features enabling various players to interact with one another. Its other multiplayer online role playing games comprise R.O.S.E. Online, Requiem, and Emil Chronicle Online. The company?s casual online game consists of Pucca Racing, a game play based on classic bike racing. It also licenses the merchandizing rights of character-related products based on its online games. In addition, the company provides the animation series of Ragnarok Online in DVD and video on demand formats, as well as broadcasts these series on televisions. Additionally, the company, along with its licensees, markets dolls, stationery, and other character-based merchandise, as well as game manuals, monthly magazines, and other publications. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in Seoul, Korea. Gravity Co., Ltd. operates as a subsidiary of GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.

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