Platformization of Korean Internet portals toward mega-platforms: A historical approach
Keywords:platformization, Korean Internet Portals, Naver, Kakao, History
This paper documents the evolution of Korea’s digital platforms. By using a historical approach in tandem with platformization — helpful in determining the causes behind the changing processes of new technologies — we examine the advancement of digital platforms. The digital platform era can be divided into three significant periods based on major technical advancements and corporate transformations, including the early construction of ICT infrastructure between the mid-1990s and early 2000s; the early platformization period of Internet portals amidst the smartphone revolution between the mid-2000s and mid-2010s; and the duopoly market of Naver and Kakao from the mid-2010s, after the merge of Daum and Kakao, to the present. Multiple causes led to the advent of digital platforms, both in terms of technologies and systems. Power relations developed between several major players, such as the government, corporations, and global forces. This work ultimately describes the relationship between sociocultural transitions and accompanying structural changes in digital platforms and relevant policies.
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