You might have noticed that TechNode has recently started writing about South Korean startups. There are many success stories coming out from Korea, which we summarized in 5 Key Facts to know about Korea’s Startup Ecosystem. Briefly, these points are: 1. Gangnam is hot for tech startups as well as tourists. 2. Successful entrepreneurs are now becoming angel investors and venture capitalists. 3. Top talent from major companies and leading universities are starting their own businesses. 4. Korean startups are getting global attention 5. Korean startups are getting investment and acquisition from overseas VCs.

There remain language and cultural barriers between China and Korea, while different regulation systems make it difficult for Korean startups to adjust to the market here. As TechNode talked to Korean startups that are reaching out to China, they told us it’s important to find a good local partner to enter the Chinese market. To help these entrepreneurs, organizations like Startup Alliance and KISA have created a three month incubation program to assist in creating a business model and networking with Chinese investors. They ran a demo day in NEOPLY China, in Shanghai’s Pudong area.

There are already several examples of Chinese businesses interacting with Korean companies, demonstrating their potential. You may know that WeChat and Kakao are rivals in the instant messenger business, but only a few will know that they are actually cousins. Tencent invested US$6.3 million in Kakao in 2012, acquiring 13.54% of the company. On May 27th, 2014, Kakao merged with Daum Communications to actively compete against the big players in the messenger industry. After the merger, Tencent became the second biggest shareholder of DaumKakao.

Recent cooperation between China and Korea was largely initiated by Platum, a Korean tech blog that focuses on Korean and the Greater Chinese tech market, when it brought twelve Korean startups to TechCrunch Shanghai in 2013. Since then, China’s startups have shown an increasing interest in their Korean counterparts, and been more aware of their potential. Platum CEO, Sangrae Jo, who has ten years experience as an IT product manager in China, started the company through his experience in and knowledge of the Chinese tech market. Platum formed a relationship with TechNode and has since then  sharing content through its platform.


D.CAMP, a Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs, established a strategic partnership with Huawei Korea to aid cooperation between the two countries. The company also announced another strategic partnership with Foxconn to build networks and ran a demo day to actively connect Korea and Taiwan. D.CAMP successfully held Startup Nations Summit (2014 SNS) on November 2014, with Huawei and Foxconn sponsoring the event and rewarding the prize winners of the World Startup Competition.

As for Korean venture capital, Capstone Partners LLC positions itself as one of the best ways for Korean startups to reach out to China. The company has established a relationship with Tencent, and led a mobile gaming seminar in Korea on June 2014, inviting 30 Korean startups interested in entering the Chinese market.

As TechNode aims to be a bridge connecting China and the global startup scene, we will introduce a series of Korean startups to the world. We have met 30 Korean startups, VCs and meetups eager to enter the Chinese market, and English articles on their stories will be translated into Chinese to let more people read about them. As we open our new co-working space in Shanghai, we will attract even more Korean startups to come to China. You’ll be able to find out about more Korean startups at our events as well.

image credit: ShutterStock

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at

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