Marketing Featured East Asia

GroupM’s EssenceMediacom appoints Jin Choi as new CEO for South Korea

Seoul, South Korea – EssenceMediacom, GroupM’s newest media agency that combines Essence and MediaCom, has appointed Jin Choi as its new CEO for South Korea. Choi, who has been heading MediaCom as managing director in South Korea for over three years, will be leading the merged agency, which launches in January 2023.

Reporting to both Michael Beecroft, GroupM’s CEO for Northeast Asia, and Rupert McPetrie, EssenceMediacom’s CEO for APAC, Choi’s appointment will be effective from January 2023. Meanwhile, Jay Lee, who has been heading Essence as managing director in South Korea for over four years, will take up leadership of GroupM Nexus in the market.

The EssenceMediacom merger, which was announced in April 2022, will blend the digital strategy, data, analytics and creative technology DNA of Essence with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise, to create an advantage for clients. The ambition is a technology-driven, scaled agency with a performance mindset designed to excel at what a future-facing agency should do.

Commenting on his appointment, Choi said, “I am thrilled to take on the leadership of our new combined agency, and evolve our innovative thinking and best-in-class solutions, in line with consumers’ lifecycles today and in the future. I look forward to leading our phenomenal team in South Korea, and continuing to partner with our diverse and ambitious clients in delivering excellent work, with an agile and proactive approach.” 

Meanwhile, Beecroft said, “Jin is a modern agency leader, with a great balance of deep technical experience, and a proven track record of building and leading high-performance teams. Since he joined the agency in 2019, MediaCom has grown by over 40% through bringing new clients into the agency as well as expanding scope with existing partners, including an e-commerce assignment with P&G.”

“Jay has done an incredible job working with GroupM agencies across markets for more than 16 years, and whilst leading Essence South Korea, has spearheaded the group’s performance marketing, analytics and consulting capabilities. I am excited to continue working with him in his new role,” he added. 

McPetrie said, “Over the last years leading MediaCom, he has put people at the heart of the operation, built strong and sustainable partnerships with our clients, as well as developed new capabilities and products to help solve clients’ business challenges. With Jin leading our merged business, I am confident that our progress will further accelerate.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

South Korean grocery app Market Kurly to enter SG via RedMart tie-up

Singapore – South Korean grocery app Market Kurly is entering the Singapore market via a tie-up with local online grocery service RedMart, Bloomberg first reported.

According to the report, Singaporeans will be able to buy Market Kurly’s ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals via the app. The initial launch is composed of 44 products, ranging from frozen snacks and Korean-style cold soba from Gwanghwamun Mijin, a decades-old restaurant in Seoul.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Sophie Kim, CEO at Market Kurly said that the initial product lineup will be gradually expanded to chilled food and possibly non-food daily products in the future.

“Singapore is a melting pot of culture and food. Lazada and RedMart’s nationwide reach allows us to tap their expertise and skills, and the ability for us to use that data for future product roll-outs,” Kim said.

This marks Market Kurly’s first overseas expansion since it was first established in 2015. It has attracted around KRW1b in investment during its IPO. Some of its investors include Millennium Management, Sequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital.

Technology Featured East Asia

GroupM’s Xaxis elevates Ji Young Jung as new head of South Korea

South Korea – Xaxis, the outcome media specialist under GroupM, has elevated Ji Young Jung, its former programmatic trading lead, to be the new head of Xaxis South Korea.

Jung will be leading her team toward Xaxis’ vision of scaling up and optimising its performance and digital offerings across APAC. Her passion for developing the programmatic advertising landscape in South Korea centres around helping the country’s leading brands and advertisers navigate an evolving landscape, all the while bringing in ever-stronger results from their media investments.

Jung brings a hands-on experience of both the buy and sell sides of programmatic advertising and previously to Xaxis, spent several years at companies such as The Trade Desk and A1 Media Group. She will be taking over the role from Junsu Bae, who has been elevated to the position of head of digital investment at GroupM South Korea.

Commenting on her appointment, Jung said, “I’m excited for this next chapter in my journey with Xaxis. There are so many opportunities to grow the programmatic landscape in South Korea, and with our blend of innovative AI technology, cross-channel solutions and a wealth of programmatic expertise for our clients to tap into, we’re in a perfect position to lead this charge.”

Meanwhile, Michael Beecroft, GroupM’s CEO of Northeast Asia, said, “Ji Young is a pragmatic leader whose experience is backed up by a full range of hands-on experience in the programmatic advertising space. I’m looking forward to seeing how her wealth of industry knowledge inspires the team around her and drives continued success for the Xaxis South Korea team.”

Bae noted, “Since joining in 2019, Ji Young has created a remarkable imprint on the programmatic advertising industry in South Korea. She has shown time and again her ability to create successful business outcomes for Xaxis and our clients, and I’m delighted to be working alongside her when developing and launching future GroupM products in South Korea.”

Technology Featured East Asia

South Korean gaming platform COM2US launches cross-border programmatic DOOH campaign in USA

Seoul, South Korea – COM2US, a global multi-content and gaming platform company in South Korea, has partnered with programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) adtech Hivestack, to launch its first cross-border programmatic DOOH campaign in the USA via Open Exchange through the Hivestack DSP.

Using the Hivestack Custom Audience and Geotargeting technology, COM2US has advertised its new baseball game ‘MLB 9 innings 22’, to a custom audience of baseball enthusiasts in the Los Angeles area and at specific points of interests (POI) including the Angel Baseball Stadium of Anaheim during the Major League Baseball tournament. 

Through this partnership, COM2US has successfully connected and engaged further with its target audience leveraging trigger targeting capabilities available within the Hivestack DSP, activating the campaign every three hours before the game was set to begin using a proximity geofence of a 10km radius of the stadium.

Hivestack said that its advanced programmatic DOOH technology enables local and global buyers to access premium DOOH screens in over 25 markets across the world. In turn, media owners can benefit from both domestic and international revenue from brands, agencies and omnichannel DSPs – a revolutionary evolution of the OOH channel.

Hoon Lee, Hivestack’s vice president of demand and supply for Korea, commented that through this innovative, cross-border campaign, COM2US are setting a new global digital paradigm in the gaming industry in Korea. 

“Throughout the campaign, we were able to adjust campaign parameters in real-time and select the most suitable DOOH locations for the target audience. We look forward to expanding our partnership with COM2US to launch numerous campaigns internationally in the future,” said Lee.

Meanwhile, Youngjoo Park, COM2US’s director of marketing and content center, shared that the collaboration with the Hivestack team has enabled COM2US to light up new markets and bring our campaigns to a global audience.

“With Hivestack’s Geotargeting technology, we were able to deliver the advertisements at the right time, at the right place, to the right customer,” said Park.

Most recently, Hivestack has extended its partnership with Asiaray, an out-of-home (OOH) media company with a strategic focus on mega transport advertising media management. This partnership will see Asiaray offering both domestic and international buyers the opportunity to activate programmatic DOOH campaigns via Private Marketplace (PMP) deals through the Hivestack SSP and direct deals via the Hivestack Ad Server.

Platforms Featured East Asia

ONE Esports appointed as official media partner for League of Legends Champions Korea

South Korea – ONE Holdings’ esports media company ONE Esports has been appointed as the official media partner for League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). The League of Legends tournament is organised by League of Legends Champions Korea Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Riot Games Korea Limited.

The LCK Summer Split 2022, which will take place from 15 June to August 2022 in South Korea, will see 10 of the best League of Legends teams from Korea compete for a US$370,000 prize pool.

Through this appointment, ONE Esports will manage the production of localised content related to the LCK Summer Split 2022, including short-form videos and written coverage. All video content, including tournament highlights, player interviews, and fan interactions, amongst others, will be distributed across ONE Esports’ digital channels. 

Moreover, ONE Esports will also publish a series of articles covering the LCK in localised languages to be distributed exclusively on the ONE Esports website,

Carlos Alimurung, CEO of ONE Esports, said that it is motivating to work with the dedicated team at League of Legends Champions Korea Limited who are committed to delivering high-quality events and telling remarkable stories. 

“The popularity of League of Legends Champions Korea, coupled with ONE Esports’ passionate fanbase and extensive reach, will take the tournament’s phenomenal success to the global stage,” said Alimurung.

Meanwhile, Aiden Lee, secretary-general of League of Legends Champions Korea, commented that they are excited to welcome ONE Esports as their newest partner for League of Legends Champions Korea.

“Storytelling is such an important aspect in esports because it allows our audience to engage with our brand and talents in deep and meaningful ways. We are thrilled that with ONE Esports’ expertise and presence in esports, we will be able to bring LCK closer to fans around the world,” said Lee.

In April 2022, ONE Esports has also been tapped by gaming company Riot Games to be its official media partner for the upcoming League of Legends: Wild Rift Championships SEA tournament, to be held from 23 April to 8 May 2022.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Webtoon production company Contents Lab. Blue establishes local branch in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – South Korean webtoon production production company Contents Lab. Blue has announced the establishment of a local branch in Thailand to make webtoons solely for Thailand, as well as localising other existing webtoons.

In addition, they plan to develop new content and train artists. Based on their continuous successes within the Korean market, Contents Lab. Blue has founded the Thailand branch and is making the branch a foundation for an expansion into the global market.

Chanil Kim, director of the global division at Contents Lab. Blue said that they expect the founding of the Thailand branch would have a large effect on differentiating their webtoon production environment and process from others.

“With the assistance of this differentiation, we will maximise work efficiency and emphasise localisation works that are based on culture, language and sentimentality, and we plan to present content that is tailored solely for Thailand,” she added.

Furthermore, the company plans to diversify its content by means of launching various popular Korean webtoons and developing and securing foreign IPs. They have also proposed that they will lead the establishment of a global webtoon ecosystem by building infrastructure through active investments, promoting the discovery of content within Thailand and training amateur artists.

Meanwhile, Contents Lab. Blue’s CEO Youngto Go, added, “We have prepared a basic structure for international business expansion through the founding of Thailand and Japan branches. Based on this foothold, we will not only achieve outstanding results but also continuously extend our influence within the global market.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

IAS names Inwon Park as head of Korea market

Seoul, South Korea – Global digital ad verification company Integral Ad Science (IAS) has announced the appointment of Inwon Park to lead its sales operations in South Korea. Park will be working with brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms in the region, and will be based in Seoul, to report to Takeshi Yamaguchi, country manager for Japan and South Korea.

In this new role, Inwon is tasked to help create education and awareness about media quality and how using IAS solutions can help clients create efficiencies and make online advertising a safe place for advertisers and publishers alike. Previously, he served as an account director at Jellyfish, a marketing performance platform, where he accelerated their client relationships across key verticals. Prior to that, he had notable stints with companies like iProspect, Carat and Google in South Korea.

Park commented that South Korea’s digital media market is evolving quickly, and educating the clients on the value of media quality for their digital campaigns presents a big opportunity.

“Joining IAS at this critical point in the company’s journey is an exciting opportunity, as the growth of digital advertising drives a greater need for media quality measurement,” Park said.

Takeshi Yamaguchi, country manager for Japan and South Korea at IAS, shared, “As IAS continues to expand in the APAC region, we’re delighted to bring Inwon aboard as the Head of Korea Market to spearhead the media quality mandate in South Korea. Inwon brings a wealth of experience in digital advertising, strategy, team building and programmatic.

“As marketers in South Korea invest more significant budgets across digital advertising channels, IAS offers the solutions they need to measure quality impressions for their campaigns. We are thrilled to have Inwon on board and look forward to accelerating our growth in South Korea with his sales leadership, industry knowledge, and proven success working with major brands and agencies locally,” Yamaguchi adds.

Marketing Featured East Asia

South Korea-based video-editing solution VideoMonster closes US$2.5m Series A funding

Seoul, South Korea — VideoMonster Inc., the online short-form videomaking solutions provider based in South Korea, has announced that it has secured a Series A round investment worth KR₩3b or approximately US$2.5m. Participants in this round include Innopolis Partners, Smart Study Ventures, ETRI Holdings, and Union Partners.

Through the funding, VideoMonster. plans to accelerate the adoption of AI technology in advancing its services, including the launch of the long-form video editing solution.

Chun Donghyuk, CEO of VideoMonster, said, “Having successfully closed the Series A round, we have gained the momentum to introduce AI technology for the entire solution. With this, we plan to innovate the entire video editing process and focus on the advancement of service for our target users in the global market.”

Established in 2019, Videomonster underwent a global expansion and is now present in more than five other countries and continues to pursue strategic localisation, starting with local language services, including English, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian. The company has also leapt forward as a global service by achieving 150,000 monthly average users within six months of expanding overseas.

Technology Featured East Asia

SK-based Dable names Jan Cheng as head of business dev’t for HK

Seoul, South Korea – Dable, content discovery and native advertising platform based in South Korea, has named its new head of business development for Hong Kong – seasoned media and adtech executive Jan Cheng

Cheng brings with him 13 years of experience working in the media and adtech industry. Cheng developed key accounts to explore incremental investment opportunities via digital media planning and buying on different channels which led to monetizing the unsold inventory programmatically for the press such as the Asia City Media Group and the New York Times. In addition, he established a tailor-made programmatic solution and designed commitment packages for clients to secure sales volume and develop sustainable business relationships at Vpon Big Data Group, a leading big data company in Asia.

“Our business is based on monetizing inventories of publishers as well as contributing to the advertiser’s profit through planning strategies. I will use my all-round business development and operational experience with solid digital knowledge to contribute to clients’ growth by driving revenue and productivity.” said Cheng. 

Dable is a media-tech company that provides a personalized content recommendation solution and native ad platform to 11 markets, and is currently securing leadership in the markets Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Cheng’s appointment is part of Dable’s acceleration plans in Greater China, where the company has also named its new head of business development for mainland China, Tianxi Sun, who has been working in the advertising industry for over 12 years. 

“Tianxi Sun and Jan Cheng are top experts who are recognized in the industry. I trust that their experience, insight, and global business experience will play a major role in helping Dable establish and solidify its business in Greater China,” said Chaehyun Lee, Dable’s CEO. 

At the end of 2021, Dable announced that media company Matichon Group in Thailand has partnered with them to drive monetization across its news sites in the country.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Una Brands, KlickBrands partner to invest US$100m in SK e-commerce market

Singapore Una Brands, Singapore-based e-commerce aggregator, has struck its first strategic alliance with South Korean domestic counterpart, KlickBrands. Together they will invest KRW₩120b, or US$100m, in the countries’ e-commerce market over two years.

The alliance will link Una Brands’ global cross-border network with KlickBrands’ understanding of the South Korean market. Together, they will help grow the local e-commerce brands domestically and into Southeast Asian markets namely Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Una Brands and KlickBrands will scale at least 25 or more profitable e-commerce brands, across categories such as health, K-beauty, baby, pets, and home and living brands. South Korea was identified as a key market for Una Brands, being the fifth-largest e-commerce market globally with an annual growth rate of around 14% and an expected market value of US$250b by 2025.

Kiren Tanna, co-founder and CEO of Una Brands, said, “Of all the local e-commerce aggregators, we chose KlickBrands as our strategic partner because of our shared vision, mission, and values. Their hands-on approach to working with the brands they acquire mirrors our own work ethic. This will make KlickBrands an instrumental partner in strengthening Una Brands’ presence in, and understanding of, the South Korean e-commerce landscape. In return, KlickBrands will benefit from our robust operational, technological, and acquisition capabilities.”

KlickBrands, founded in 2021 by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists Brian Hyun and Jung Ho Joo, is focused on creating opportunities for brand owners to accelerate their growth across eCommerce platforms and markets.

Brian Hyun, co-founder and CEO of KlickBrands, commented that the partnership with Una Brands bears testament to the growing possibilities for e-commerce brands in South Korea.

“When Una Brands approached us, we immediately recognised that their capabilities were a great match for our own, particularly with the strong team that they have built, their expertise in e-commerce in the Asia Pacific (APAC), and their global distribution network. We bring to the partnership local e-commerce expertise, as well as the understanding and empathy of local brand owners’ mindsets. We are very excited to have the backing of Una Brands as we continue to reach out to more brand owners in South Korea to support their next phase in expansion,” Hyun said.

Una Brands, an e-commerce aggregator in APAC that comprises a team with a wealth of experience behind it, has established its presence in key markets namely Singapore, Australia, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan in under a year, with South Korea being the next strategic market for the business’ expansion and development. Since its launch in 2021, Una Brands has to date acquired over 20 firms, with the earliest brands seeing over a 50 per cent increase in sales and profits.