The Korean software market was extremely small, primarily due to the widespread practice of piracy (United States Trade Representative, 1996). There was an improvement with copyright protection since the early 90s, but the market still remained small because it did not get recognition from investors.
Since 1998, a new form of business called "PC-bang", a unique Korean-style Internet café with an emphasis on games and chatting, became popular. With few, if any, households having broadband connection to the Internet in Korea, these PC-bangs were able to attract people with high-speed Internet connection and high-end equipments.
This PC-bang industry was the catalyst for pushing a quarter of the Korean population to have access to high-speed Internet at home, and helped to develop a new business model for online services and games.
What PC-bangs are and how they work, what role it plays in the new business model for online services, how it sparked growth of other markets its related to, and the current trend of the PC-bang industry will be discussed in this article.