Fleur Pellerin and Hae-jin Lee, Naver founder and chairman, met in 2015. Both share the same long-term vision of the digital economy and other matters including international tax, digital sovereignty and a level playing field in the digital industry.
Founded in 1999, Naver is the n°1 South Korean web firm, boosted primarily by its search website, which is the most popular in South Korea.
The firm has developed online advertising and content by adopting a very persistent and constant R&D policy, which has enabled Naver to bring very popular product innovations to market such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising in 2005 based on numbers of clicks by Internet users. While Naver is no «chaebol» (in Korean meaning conglomerates operating in very varied businesses that often hold equity stakes in each-other) like LG or Samsung, it is nevertheless one of the largest listed companies in the country with nearly 6 000 employees, and market capitalization of $27 billion. In 2016, Forbes ranked Naver 13th most innovative company in the world.
Line is no. 1 Instant Messaging firm in Japan and many other Asian countries.
The service was set up in 2011 after the tsunami hit in order to give victims an effective means of communication. Naver’s July 2016 IPO on the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges in respect of 20% of the equity was a tremendous success in a sluggish market hit by the Brexit vote. The IPO was the largest technology industry IPO since the Alibaba IPO in 2015. Line market capitalization stands at $11 billion. Line follows the strategy of Naver, which, for international growth, strives to rely on local companies rather than setting up subsidiaries managed from Seoul. Korelya Capital’s strategic objective is to bring about one or more French «unicorns» (startups valued at over $1 billion) over the coming five years, rather than building startups from scratch with a view to later taking them over within Naver or Line.