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Korean Business Registration Number Now Required on Websites

 12:23 pm on Mar 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Couple of months ago Overture sent us an email that we need to show a Korean Business Registration number on our website if we want to continue to display our ads in Overture. We wrote back to them and informed them that we are an Indian company and not registered in Korea, hence we donft have the Korean Business Registration number. To which they replied that it is a new government rule. As per the rule all the websites which process credit card payments on their website they need to display the Korean Business Registration number. So we had asked for an extension but they replyed stating that the extension as per Govt rules is not allowed. Hence we need to remove the credit card payment pages from Korea.

have any of you guys faced such problems if yes any workable options which can explored...


GrendelKhan TSU

 1:45 am on Mar 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

wow.. I didn't know that that this reached as far as Overture. +_+

This is a real problem for many foreign companies here and I spent waaay too much time trying to put rhyme-or-reason and protesting the ridiculous rule. (There is related one about the CEO/President/Owner of a company being a non-Korean citizen as well with the same effect of not being able to do credit card payments. Yes. Seriously.)

There are methods to deal with it... unfortunately, none of which are easy (or even possible?) for non-Koreans, doesn't speak Korean, or doesn't have contacts on-the-ground in Korea as it involves dealing paperwork or registrations etc etc in Korean (and I haven't seen any English versions).

eg: by using local representative business (need to make a deal and/or have local partner), setting up a korean "entity" (takes $$$$ and liabilities), or getting a local sponsor (trusted local basically willing to act your co-signer) and some other more convoluted ones and some that I wouldn't post publically. heh.

To be honest, the process not even easy when you DO speak korean and have done business here for years.

Yes, basically its one of the stupidiest rules and @ss backwards rules ever created related to online business in Korea.... and speaks loudly of either the still existent parochial, protective often paranoid view of korean govt... or just ignorance of all things internet. Probably a good share of all those reasons. (And I know that for sure given I used for K. govt and know the Minister of the Dept control this stuff (or used to)).

I haven't really checked into whether there is a rule correlating with this one to allow for foreign companies to register for Korean biz number more readily (as I haven't needed to)... but I imagine there is something. I will do some digging as it could be useful for other things.

---so sayeth GrendelKhan{TSU}


 1:39 am on Mar 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

How long has this Korean government rule been around? I'd be interested to hear how far this rule extends. Thanks for looking into it Grendel.


 6:47 am on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Grendel.

GrendelKhan TSU

 6:51 am on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

rule has been a while now.. .at least a few years. but first I've heard it affect Overture.


 3:56 pm on Mar 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

speaks loudly of either the still existent parochial, protective often paranoid view of korean govt... or just ignorance of all things internet.

Nah, it's just another example of Korean protectionism and trying to discriminate against foreign companies.

So what, Expedia and Travelocity will have to get and display a Korean registration number just because they process credit cards on their site?!?

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 3:57 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2009]

GrendelKhan TSU

 11:43 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

yes. its ridiculous.

and its getting (potentially) far worse. Sorry..follow-up has been tough. been busy partly due to effects and battling this stuff...




 12:00 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

GrendelKhan TSU;
Thanks for that link. Very interesting reading. Sounds like difficult and expensive to implement requirements on business.

How can the government realistically expect any business to meet some of the demands?

GrendelKhan TSU

 1:48 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sounds like difficult and expensive to implement requirements on business.


The extra raw expenses for smaller sites are nominal, but the extra effort and red tape alone can be disastrous for post launch start-ups, for example, as there is little room to "go back" and re-purpose their biz to just deal with this. I know cases where it has killed the biz completely.

For carriers and communication channels... as stated: its simply untenable.

let's not even get into the freedoms issue.

How can the government realistically expect any business to meet some of the demands?

Honestly... its mostly REACTIONARY.. but given credibility by delusions of grandeur, and a distinct lack of real understanding of all things internet. All they know FOR SURE is the fact Korean netizens/internet channels (namely korean bloggers) can have enough influence to make politicians shiver to their bones at the thought of another "online fueled and perpetued scandal". Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Korean bloggers formed a Union.


yikes! That thought just made me shiver!

<-- scratch that comment, so not to give anyone any ideas. lol. =P

The irony is that Korean internet bloggers and netizens are just as much to blame for the state of things... to admittedly stereotype:
[u]Most korean bloggers making such a racket are as politically ignorant/culturally parochial, as politicians are internet ignorant. [/u]

It is widely accepted now that a strong contingency of Korean bloggers have ability to unite and have power when something becomes issue of the moment with them. Heck, they got the last President elected (before this one). So, he as all pro-blogger/internet freedoms, of course.

But then the next target was US beef and a few political corruption related scandals. eg: US beef imports: This is basically where bloggers fueled the paranoia against US madcow beef and image basically of Korea getting throw-away leftovers from US beef industry. That is not a small thing. I'm talking about busting out the riot police out to control tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets.

This among other private level incidents of "internet terrorizing" (not to be with bomb "terrorist" stuff... but in the terrorIZING by online bashing and flaming and lible to the point it identified as a primary cause of many student suicides, etc +_+)... has not surprisingly led to this over reaching reaction from the govt.

So, a bunch of combined factors are giving this a lot of momentum nowadays:

* internet lobbyists (blog or ootherwise) DO have distinct cultural influence... for better or worse. Mostly recently... mostly for the worse.
* lots of cases identity theft and internet terrorizing
* its clear, someone has an agenda and sees this as ticket up the political ladder.
* Original walled-garden mentality (double edged sword)
* North Korea is acting crazy again.

Since Korea internet itself is very much already a walled-garden with a homogenous culture... issues get big and far reaching...fast (even by internet standards).

So yah, current govt administration, the President, and righteous crusaders are now all "let's get a handle on these internet hooligans and save us!"

* internet bashing?
ok. real names required online from now on.
* illegal file sharing? down with all p2p.
* blog cultural influence? ok, you can go to jail for spreading a false rumor

So, there is some rational (if often loosely relevant) basis for the movement which is why its tough to deal with ... but its clear the implementation is WAY off course.

They just know they have to do SOMETHING.

To quote an old bud of mine:
"when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail"

ie: they are taking their hammer and seeing the big internet/communications channels as big, juicy nails.

so sayeth GrendelKhan{TSU}

[edited by: GrendelKhan_TSU at 1:50 am (utc) on April 10, 2009]


 3:36 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Korean bloggers formed a Union.

I won't be surprised if you're visited by a squad of goons tonight who let you know what their bosses think about that idea...

North Korea is acting crazy again.

Again?!? When did they ever stop?!

real names required online from now on.

And exactly how is a small business supposed to implement this? I assume this means having to register with your name and Korean ID number. But how is a web site supposed to verify that the person using that name/ID is REALLY that person? I guess what Korea needs is one good public case of identity theft to demonstrate just how pointless this requirement is.

GrendelKhan TSU

 4:39 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I won't be surprised if you're visited by a squad of goons tonight who let you know what their bosses think about that idea...

that was so cruel.

(I didn't sleep a wink last nite! lol =P)

Again?!? When did they ever stop?!

lol. I heard there was a break sometime last november for chusok holiday. :p

As for real names and korean business registrations:
This looks like its gunna be just the beginning, and it will have to run its paces (unfortunately)... business is gunna suffer and real names is gunna blow up one way or the other...

Real names is already an issue. I can see it as a volunteer thing, thus, even used a badge of pride (and then it'd be useful and pertinent--one step deeper than openID type stuff imo)... but this blanket policy is just unrealistic. Controlling illegal downloads would be easy by comparison. heh.

It certainly will bite them in the rear eventually.....
I mean its already gotten interesting...

I'm now thinking this could be Google *even Yahoos* "break" for the Korean market.

One step back.. two steps forward.

One step back:
Youtube Korea officially shut off ALL Korean comments and uploading for Youtube Korea for Koreans.


This effectively puts the breaks on a lot of the efforts youtube was putting into making headway here. Sacrifice fly ball anyone? Its not like Korea is their main market or they can't take a hit in its already paltry market share. (And most of the slightly more than n00b user that was on youtube Korea has switched home location to other countries to get around it.)
<-- guilty as charged.

* The REAL issue is that Google took the Youtube bullet in order to AVOID having to adhere to the real-name registration requirement law. Basically... Google said, "no". And shut down yt korea (effectively) to make the issue irrelevant. (I give them props for that actually). That is a precedent I guess Big G just wasn't willing to set (yet?). *

Two steps forward: (for Everyone?)
Flock to the (foreign) safe online havens? Not yet. but there are rumblings. and as I've said, ripple turns into tidal waves here pretty quick.

Tons of online talk centered at many popular Korean political sites has already begun about moving to an "online asylum" in foreign based services like google and non-korean blog servers. (ie: non-korean portals) remember, these are the same blogs and people that created the US Beef scandal and others.

So here's the thing...so say the GrendelKhan{TSU} Korea Market trend watch... unless the govt changes this ridiculous line of policy... this might EVENTUALLY be great for the market.

ie: it might be the biggest step to solving the "wall garden" issues of Korean internet, mobile market, and digital whatever. (again, IN THE END).


Remember way back... when google was the looking like ONLY organic search engine and arguably thus carved its place in the market forever?

If this keeps up, google might fall into a nice niche by default: The only decent search engine and service that doesn't require real-name korean national registration numbers. ie: offer some amount of anonymity online (even for little things). Backed by free advertising via news, scandal, online debate and outraged power bloggers et al.

That is, if Korean netizens start making it a point to use Google (and yahoo non-Korea)... simply out of protest or curiosity of the issues... Google might pull out a coup as the only real "7-Up, the Un-cola" in a cola filled industry. (to use the old beverage biz analogy).

Remember: We aren't talking proxies and masking and ingnito browsing (stuff normally reserved for the nominal number of power user internet scammer... er.. I meant elites =P).

This is just regular stuff.... commerce, blogging, sharing and communications online.

So, why the heck would anyone want to deal with if they didn't have to?

ahhh .. language restrictions.

well, have half-a-mind to offer a service where all I did was provide a korean language version of hosting, blogs and whatever specifically POSITIONED and TARGETED as an "online asylum" for disgruntled korea netizen. And one-step registration for foreign companies looking to do biz here without banging their heads against the wall about random registrations laws.

never been a better time in the market for it.

And if someone else reads this and does so...
I officially claim 5%! hahaha. :p

so sayeth GrendelKhan{TSU}
<---officially registered location everywhere but here. :p

[edited by: GrendelKhan_TSU at 4:40 am (utc) on April 13, 2009]


 5:52 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I guess one of the problems with the online asylum idea could be that most people's data and profiles are tied up in the Korean services. That will be hard to break out of. I guess you wouldn't see wholesale shifts to non-Korean services, but perhaps selective people/personalities who needed this sort of asylum. That idea does pose some interesting possibilities.

I'm actually impressed that Google decided not to comply with this real-name law. I didn't see anything in the English media.

However, I don't see how they could spurn this business registration policy.

GrendelKhan TSU

 8:46 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

people's data and profiles are tied up in the Korean services.

yes. that is the main hurdle. But though there is no mass migration yet.... those who are making issue of it are the "social/politic hub" types and the loudest about such things.

And "hard to break out" for these types (from what I've seen) is a matter of just a matter of whether they decide to or not... once they decide to move I doubt doing so will actually be much of a hurdle. They have a very strong following. and to wit, google and yahoo do offer services that are korean market enabled and not affected (that I konw of).. just not used.

Again, tons of free advertising for the Big G right now. they are probably sitting back with a deep smile at the "bigger picture" potential. In fact, I just saw this made the morning national TV news. That's like getting a spot on the Morning Show in the US.

However, I don't see how they could spurn this business registration policy.

so far... Big G spurs it by ... well... just by doing so. spur is as spur does. :p What they lose out on youtube korea now, they may just get back in search, email, or blog areas (for example)... which may arguably be a better result for them anyway. some jumps in youtube or google service have been tied with this issue in the past.

And like I said, the korean netizens that were using youtube were a bit geared towards knowing how to switch their location anyway.

its gunna be interesting to see how this plays out... but for now, youtube Korea has been kneecapped.

govt censorship 2 : google 0.

(first was google censoring adult and search result content and google maps..though maps was everyone and more understandable. second is youtube).

[edited by: GrendelKhan_TSU at 9:01 am (utc) on April 13, 2009]

GrendelKhan TSU

 9:07 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I didn't see anything in the English media.

surprised it actually want' more of an issue actually...
(maybe you could break this off into a new thread? ~_^)

anyway...found one:

but I'm sure there is more.


 3:35 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

(Never mind- question was answered by the article.)

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 4:04 pm (utc) on April 13, 2009]

GrendelKhan TSU

 9:56 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

heh. its finally hit US press. just noticed it on like 10 different sites stateside now. (pc world, readwriteweb etc).

pfft! took a week. you'd think those guys should know to be reading WebmasterWorld to get a quicker scoop. lol! =P (knew we shoulda broke this into a new thread! heehee).

[edited by: GrendelKhan_TSU at 9:57 pm (utc) on April 13, 2009]

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