browser competition in Korea in 2012

The Korea Times has a new article on the popularity of Google Chrome in Korea.

In Korea, though Internet Explorer is still overwhelming other top browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Maxthon, Chrome is beginning to emerge as a possible contender.

In April 2011, 91.93 percent of Korean users used Internet Explorer, while only 4.33 percent used Chrome. Some had never even heard of others browsers used overseas.

In April this year, Chrome accounted for 13.88 percent of domestic users, the only browser to reach the double digits to challenge Internet Explorer’s 78 percent.

Chrome gaining fast against Explorer

While it’s encouraging to see that browser competition in Korea is changing, I don’t understand this comment about “toolbars.”

Another downside of Internet Explorer, besides the need to agree to an authorized certificate for monetary transactions is the need to install toolbars. To access popular Web portals such as Naver or Daum, users are required to install provided toolbars, which are now considered cumbersome by those who have other new options open to them.

Chrome has the advantage of not needing tool bars, unlike Internet Explorer and Firefox, among others.

I don’t understand the requirement to download a toolbar in order to access a website. Is this a real requirement or just an attempt by the portal to push their toolbar onto the user? Maybe my Korean readers can help explain this?


3 Responses to browser competition in Korea in 2012

  1. StatCounter’s stat of Korea is overstated in numbers and I recently sent to you exact share. In case of toolbars, it’s mistranslation of ActiveX controls for money transactions. The point is right that Chrome (or Firefox) is simple and fast because of non-ActiveX controls and not to force to install ActiveX controls such as toolbars. But, Naver and Daum are not to foce to install toolbars. It’s misunderstanding by reporter. (I guess Firefox’s toolbar means extensions.) I think Chrome’s growth in Korea is due to viral marketing as well as growing users of Google.

  2. Based on the statcounter figures for South Korea the Android browser has roughly the same share as the Chrome desktop browser (if you infer from the Desktop Browser, Mobile Browser and Desktop vs Mobile share). I can see this accelerating as newer versions of both browsers have more synergy. This is the same reason I use Firefox on Android, it saves an amazing amount of time if it has your history and gives a big advantage to browser that implement it. So my guess (though Channy above casts doubt on the source of my data) is that Samsung’s embrace of Android is the prime mover in breaking this lock-in.

  3. Colby Russell

    Channy’s comment notwithstanding, I know of a social networking “website” called Cyworld where that characterization would sort of make sense (from what I understand). I think that in recent years, Cyworld has fallen out of favor for other networks, much like the MySpace to Facebook transition.

    From what I’ve seen of it, Cyworld isn’t a site with bunch of web pages that you can visit. It either requires an ActiveX control, or it’s actually a separate, site-specific browser wrapped around an IE runtime, possibly extended with some proprietary interfaces that the Cyworld “webapp” uses.

    The Wikipedia article for Cyworld has an image that matches what I saw of Cyworld. There’s also an article from Web 2.0 Asia that covers the launch of a feature for embeddable 3D spaces on Cyworld.