Crzyfish’s Jin Ho Hur on the Korean Mobile Market, Starting a Successful Business and Adapting to the Market


Jin Ho Hur has started several businesses, first in 1994, and another in 2000, and between running these two companies, he was CEO of Neowiz Internet, the operator of the second largest social networking service courier in Korea. Most recently he started his third company, Crzyfish, to focus on social gaming.  Initially, he focused on social gaming on Facebook, then on other local social network platforms in Korea. Last year, he recognized that social gaming was shifting to mobile platforms, so Crzyfish shifted its primary focus to mobile gaming in the Korean/Asian market. With this experience, Jin Ho Hur is able to offer a number of key insights into starting and succeeding in a new business.

The Two Essential Keys to Starting Your Business

Jin Ho HurThe absolutely most critical aspect of starting a business is building a good team with a clear understanding of the goal of your business. This is also the most difficult thing about both starting and succeeding with the business. Having a common understanding of the goal is the key to succeeding.

The second important aspect of starting a business according to Hur is focus. “You  should recognize that a number of different opportunities exist,” says Hur, “not only the main business that you started with.” He maintains that there is a temptation to become involved in too many different opportunities, and this is one of the main reasons businesses fail. Focus on the key things you decided to do.  Hur emphasizes that team building and focus are the two most important things to remember as you start a business.

What Does the Market Need?

“You should recognize that a number of different opportunities exist, not only the main business that you started with.”

Next, Jin believes you need to address what the market needs rather than emphasizing what you can provide. Many startup businesses make the mistake of focusing on what they can do, when the important thing is to offer what the market needs

Determining what the market needs is not a task with a simple solution. Hur looks at a number of different things to help in this assessment. First, he observes what people are doing on the street, in the metro, wherever he is going. He also compiles ideas and market reports. There is no single thing you can do to find out what the market needs, but you should always be working to understand what that is and what you can do to provide it.

Adapt to the Changes

The ability to adapt to the market is crucial. Crzyfish is a good example. When Hur started the company three years ago, there was no iPhone; the feature phone dominated the market and the carriers were in control. This market was not growing, and he didn’t see any opportunity there. But two years ago, the iPhone was introduced; the new Android dominated the market, and he realized there was a new opportunity coming. Within the last year, there has been a shift to mobile gaming.This is the kind of market change that Crzyfish adapted to in order to take advantage of the new opportunities.

It is critical to adapt in real time. “The fundamental thing is the business model is changing,” says Hur. More than 90 percent of the market is now the freemium-based business model, which means the market will grow to several times its present size. Hur tells us, “Many people, including myself, believe that the mobile game market will grow to a couple of billion dollar market in a few years.”

Market to Local Users

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Their awareness of local requirements is one of the things which makes Crzyfish an excellent partner for developers interested in moving into the Korean market.

When promoting a game, it is essential to gather feedback and be prepared to adapt to the local market based on that feedback. Hur uses five to ten different types of promotion programs for the game, then monitors KPI on a daily basis, changing the promotion plan as a result of this information. There is no single formula for how to do this; it is subjective, but the key is being flexible and adaptable, using KPI and customer voices for guidance.

Always be aware that games are games, and as such they are dependent on the culture and behavior of local users. Hur says, “It is very important to understand how the local users would like to have the game and also how to address that kind of requirement.” He reminds us to address the preferences of the local area whether that is Japan, China, or any other area. Their awareness of local requirements is one of the things which makes Crzyfish an excellent partner for developers interested in moving into the Korean market.

Crzyfish’s gaming platform Vivagame performs a number of different types of the cross promotion and viral loops for promoting the game.

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