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Google Opens First Asian Campus in Seoul

People talk at the entrance to the Google Campus start-up space in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

People talk at the entrance to the Google Campus start-up space in the Gangnam district of Seoul.

The American technology company Google recently set up its first campus in Asia. The campus opened last Friday in Seoul, South Korea. Google officials want the training center to support entrepreneurs who are starting up new Internet businesses. They hope this will lead to more Korean high technology programs in the world market. In return, the company wants more ties to the Korean market.

"Campus Seoul, A Google Space" is small compared to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company controls a large number of buildings and green spaces in what is known as Silicon Valley.

Google’s new campus can be found in an office building in Seoul’s Gangnam neighborhood. It will have 2,000 square meters of open office space where Korean Internet entrepreneurs can work.

Google's expectations for the campus, however, are much bigger than the relatively small space. The company wants to make it a place for new ideas in Asia.

Mary Grove is director of Google for Entrepreneurs. She says that at Campus Seoul, Internet program developers will get support, mentoring, possible contacts, and help finding investors. She says the company is providing this supportive environment without cost. She thinks this will also help Google gain entry to the Korean market.

"Google benefits when start-ups succeed as well. We understand the more start-ups that are created, companies do come on line, use the Internet, use Google, use Google products. It benefits us as well."

South Korea is one of the few countries in the world where Google is not the top Internet search engine. The Korean company Naver has a larger market share.

Google operates similar centers in London and Tel Aviv, but this is the company's first campus in East Asia.

Google says its London campus has helped startup companies created 18,000 new jobs and get over $110 million dollars in investments.

One of the Campus Seoul members is April Kim. She started an Internet-based translation service called Chatting Cat. She says she likes the workspace and conference areas.

She adds that people at the campus can share information and concerns with others there, and they can provide motivation for each other.

Google decided on Seoul because it has some of the fastest Internet speeds, and many talented, well-educated engineers. The city also has one of the highest percentages of smart phone users in the world.

Jung-min Lim is the director of Campus Seoul. He says the South Korean government has also made it easier to launch new businesses.

He says a few years ago the government cancelled many rules for new businesses and provided policies supporting start-ups.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye attended the opening of Campus Seoul. In 2013, her administration provided $3 billion to assist new high-tech companies grow and compete around the world.

I’m Mario Ritter.

VOA’s Brian Padden reported on this story from Seoul. Mario Ritter adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in This Story

campus – n. an area and buildings around a university, school or company

entrepreneur(s) – n. a person who starts a business and risks losses in an effort to earn money

mentoring – n. the process of teaching or giving advice to a less experienced often younger person

talented – adj. having special ability to do something well; having talent

motivation – n. the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something; the act or process of motivating someone

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