I spent a good chunk of my career at Forbes. Now I’m writing there again, on a freelance basis – specifically for Forbes Asia magazine. Last month, I worked on Forbes Asia’s annual “Fab 50” list, which is a curated list of Asia’s best companies, as determined by a proprietary formula. I wrote all the Korean company summaries – six in total. They included two insurance companies, one chemical company, one food company, one logistics company, and one technology company – Naver, Korea’s largest online search portal.
It was an interesting time to look at Naver because of its impending IPO for its Japan-based mobile messenger app, LINE. As I mention in my summary, Naver shareholders are wary of the ways in which a LINE IPO will affect them.
I was also amused to find that Naver/LINE had opened a pop-up store in the middle of Seoul to sell LINE character merchandise. The store seemed to be quite popular, at least when I visited.
You can read the Fab 50 list in the September issue or here, online. While in Korea I also reported a longer story for the November issue of Forbes Asia. That story is in the editing process right now and once it’s published, I’ll post about it and link to the online version.
UPDATE: Here’s the story: K-Shopping. It examines the economic forces shaping Korea’s Jeju island, particularly the island’s popularity as a shopping destination for Chinese visitors. It’s actually a package of stories, so there’s also a short article about the technology scene in Jeju. You can read more about those stories in this blog post. And if you look at the Forbes cover (above) you can see the cover line, “Why so many hop to Jeju,” which refers to my stories.