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(LEAD) Yahoo exits S. Korea, halts service
By Lee Minji
SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Internet company Yahoo Inc. on Monday halted its South Korean service, pulling out of one of the world's most wired countries after 15 years.

   Yahoo will halt all products, services and content of Yahoo Korea starting Dec. 31 in addition to ending customer support in Korea on the same day, the company wrote on its Korean Web site.

   In October, Yahoo announced a plan to pull out of South Korea as chief executive officer Marissa Mayer focuses more on stronger markets.

   "The decision is part of Yahoo's efforts to focus its resources on establishing a stronger global business," the company said in an earlier statement.

   The exit comes as the U.S. search firm is grappling to stay afloat amid the emergence of newer service providers such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. that have successfully amassed users in Web and mobile sectors.

   Locally, the company has been dwarfed by homegrown portal operators such as NHN Corp. and Daum Communications Corp. that operate the country's two most visited Web sites -- Naver.com and Daum.net.

   Yahoo, which once dominated the local search market, is estimated to now claim less than 1 percent of the local market. The company did not make it into the top 10 domains, whereas visitors to Naver and Daum hit 31.6 million and 28.3 million in November, according to data by KoreanClick.

   The U.S. search firm's departure is among the recent exits by global technology firms that have failed to emulate their home success in South Korea.

   Handset makers Motorola Mobility and HTC Corp. have also announced plans to leave South Korea after facing competition from local manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc.

   mil@yna.co.kr
(END)
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