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October 10, 2006 6:42 pm

South Korea lures Google for new R&D office

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Google on Tuesday said it would set up a research and development centre in South Korea to develop internet search technologies.

It plans to spend about $10m on the R&D centre over the next two years, while the Korean government will spend about Won1.25bn ($1.3m) on the facility during the same period, said the state-run Korea Trade Promotion Agency.

Google is the latest global technology company setting up an R&D centre in South Korea, the world’s most wired nation, following Microsoft and other global technology leaders.

Google said it was attracted by South Korea’s strong growth potential in the technology sector and its world-class engineers. “Korea is one of the most technologically advanced markets in the world,” Google’s senior vice-president, Alan Eustace, said: “Google’s R&D centre in Korea enables us to recruit local computer scientists to further develop innovative search technologies for Korean users and users around the world.”

Analysts said setting up a research centre in South Korea was part of Google’s efforts to strengthen its presence in Asia, where it is struggling to compete against local rivals.

“Google has done well in English-speaking countries but it has performed poorly in Asia, especially South Korea. This is an attempt to turn the tables here,” said Wayne Lee at Woori Investment & Securities.

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