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Search engines

Naver confident third time’s a charm in Japan's search engine market

Nov 26, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Naver search engine

South Korea’s portal giant Naver Corp. is hoping third time’s a charm as it gears up to re-enter the Japanese search engine market after two failed attempts.

During a developers’ event on Nov. 25, Kim Sang-bum, the head of Naver Search CIC, said that the company's third attempt is “expected to succeed as we have more assets to use in the Japanese market.”

Naver first rolled out a Japanese search service in 2000 when it established Naver Japan. The service achieved little to no success as it could not compete against the then-larger rival Yahoo Japan. Eventually, the service was terminated in 2005.

The company made a second attempt in 2006 after acquiring a Korean search engine company to bolster its search services. Naver Japan was re-established in 2007 but scrapped again in 2013 due to disappointing performances.

Fast forward seven years, and Naver says its third foray will be successful as it has figured out the correct search engine strategies for the Japanese market.

Over the past two years, the Korean search engine heavyweight has been preparing for its re-entry into Japan by launching Search and Clova, a division in charge of search and artificial intelligence technology.

Naver has also acquired a robust portfolio of search engine content thanks to the merger between its Japan-based subsidiary Line Corp. and Yahoo Japan.

In 2019, SoftBank Corp. and Naver announced that they will merge their subsidiaries to create a $30 billion joint venture named A Holdings.

Lee Hae-jin, the founder of Naver, will be the inaugural chairman of A Holdings and spearhead the development of artificial intelligence-based search engine services, starting with the Line platform, a leading messenger app in Japan with around 84 million monthly active users. 

Naver's M1 robot


Meanwhile, Naver also unveiled its cloud-powered robot operating system AI-Robot-Cloud (ARC) which aims to popularize robots and promote human-robot coexistence during the Nov. 25 event.

The ARC system offers comprehensive technologies developed by Naver Labs such as the M1, an indoor mapping robot that navigates autonomously in indoor spaces, as well as visual localization technology which offers precise indoor localization without the need for additional infrastructure.

Naver said that it plans to deploy ARC in its new company building, currently under construction, to create the world’s first robot-friendly building.

Write to Min-ki Koo at

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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