Birth Year: 1967
Country of birth:
Sookmyung Women’s University, Bachelor Degree in English Literature
Han Seong-sook was a technology reporter before being a co-founder in 1998 of the Empas database search company, which would later become one of the most popular portals in the Asian country. Between 2000 and 2001, Empas was Korea's second most popular portal, after Yahoo. However, with the appearance of Naver in 2003, Empas lost market until reaching fifth place in popularity. In 2007, Han Seong-sook entered Naver, two years before Empas was absorbed by the competition.
In Naver, Han Seong-sook would begin a history of peculiar ascent not only because she was a woman in a country where only 19% of women are founders of a company and less than 2.5% are chief operating officers. Han also has the peculiarity of not having training in a technological career.
Since joining Naver, Han influenced the company's decisions that turned it into a content platform with live streaming, webtoon, novels, TV, blogging, and e-commerce.
In March 2017, Han Seong-sook broke the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman in South Korea to run a technology company by being appointed as Naver's Chief Operating Officer in place of Kim Sang-hun, who was during eight years in the position and became part of the company's board.
Shortly after he took control of the company, the Korean media criticized Naver for a news-editing scandal and accused users that they were cheating the system so that the search engine would optimize their opinions. From this conflict, Han decided to pivot the company for a system similar to Google.
Han Seong-sook launched a mobile payment service and the V Live streaming music application. Thanks to the success of K-Pop stars, V Live has gained popularity in Southeast Asia. Since Han took office, Naver has expanded its market and has invested $ 467 million in the development of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and other state-of-the-art technologies, such as autonomous cars.
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With Han Seong-sook in the direction of Naver, the company has presented positive results since the first year. The income of the technology company increased by 19%, while profits increased by 5% in the same period.
Han Seong-sook believes that gender diversity is vital for companies to design products for both men and women. His background as a journalist has also helped him develop curiosity about what people do, what he wants to see on weekends or what they are reading.
Fortune chose Han Seong-sook as one of the most powerful Women internationally in its eighteenth edition.