Proving perhaps that Internet communities are local, and foreign interlopers have difficulty breaking into new markets, South Korea's largest social networking website Cyworld has announced its decision to withdraw from the Taiwanese market.

The company's general manager has returned to South Korea and over 90% of its employees in Taiwan have reportedly been laid off. However, Cyworld says it will not close its website in Traditional Chinese. The website will continue its operation, but no marketing resources will be invested in it.

In its best time, Cyworld hired about 50 employees in the Taiwan office, but since it decided to withdraw from the Taiwanese market, nearly all of them were demobilized with only accountants and several other people staying.

As the largest SNS website in South Korea, Cyworld's members cover one-third of South Korea's population. Founded in 1999, the website entered Taiwan in January 2006 with the NTD150 million investment from the South Korea-headquartered SK Telecom and the Hong Hong-headquartered Cherrypicks.

When the website first launched, Cyworld said that the major revenue of the website would be from service fees. The members of the website needed to only pay when buying value-added services, including online background music, wallpaper and furniture to decorate their online spaces. However, because the revenue from the Taiwanese market failed to meet its expectation, Cyworld decided to withdraw from the market after a three-year presence.


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