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Company Profile / NHN NHN Corp to open new services NHN Corp enjoyed its best business performance in the second quarter of 2006, posting 132.9 billion won (US$138.6 million) in sales, 50.6 billion won (US$52.8 million) in operating profit and 32.4 billion won (US$33.8 million) in net profit. The favorable results were mainly attributable to the Naver retrieval service gaining high popularity among domestic users, a steady rise in retrieval and banner advertisements, and a high growth in the e-commerce sector, Choi Hwi-young, CEO of NHN Corp said. The game industry, which was somewhat sluggish due to seasonal factors including the 2006 World Cup, is also expected to recover its strength. It will be boosted by upgraded Web board games and the launch of the Dungeon and Fighter channeling service, he said. If this trend continues, NHN will attain its 2006 target of 540 billion won (US$572 million) in sales and 205 billion won (US$217 million) in operating profits as scheduled, said Choi. NHN has placed top priority on R&D projects with some 60 percent of its total employees engaging in them. In particular, NHN appointed Dr. Lee Joon-ho, a top retrieval engine researcher, as chief technology officer (CTO) and succeeded in possessing effective development systems in the contents service, technology study, game Web service, retrieval service, information infrastructure, database, game platform and community service sectors. Since 2003, NHN has been also engaging in a joint study for retrieval technology with the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said Choi. Thanks to its active R&D investment, NHN entered the ranks of the world's top 10 companies in the number of patent applications under the 2005 international patent cooperation pact. It shares the top 10 list along with Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and LG Chem. NHN achieved a total of 1,667 patents. Commenting that the core services of NHN are retrieval and games, CEO Choi said that the company will concentrate its energy on developing retrieval and game sectors in the future. To provide Hangul, or Korean alphabet, users with exact and in-depth information, NHN will strengthen its business tie-up with public institutions and groups while persistently supplementing professional material DB, he said. Naver, which possesses its own search engine, is also making all-out efforts to improve search quality through the retrieval technology research center. In the latter half of 2006, Naver plans to offer more diversified retrieval results to users by bolstering its Web document retrieval functions, including bulletin board and blog searches. As the object of users' information exchange is changing from text to multimedia, Naver is also offering a video search service after securing 1.2 million videos, the biggest volume in Korea, he said. Hangame is planning to expand its sports and casual game lineup, including the casual racing game Skid Rush, the football game Art Soccer, the snowboard racing game Riding Star. In the meantime, NHN USA opened www.ijji.com, a game portal service, in the American market aimed at the English-speaking market. The U.S.-based game portal service is equipped with a lineup of about 40 arcade, Web board and flash games, including such casual games as Gunbound and Golfking, the American board game Sabotage, and the US service Switcheroo. Ijji.com, which started open beta on July 7, has been highly praised by American gamers thanks to the fact that they can enjoy high-quality games with others in real time online. NHN also advanced into the Japanese game portal market in September 2000. NHN Japan is planning to advance into the search service from early next year in an attempt to expand its business area in the Japanese market.