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Google Korea: Adopting A New Design To Be More Local

If you have ever visited a Korean, Chinese or Japanese website, you will probably have noted that it contains a lot more information and images per square inch than other, more "Western" sites from the US, Europe or Latin America. And that is the way most users in Asia expect websites to look like.

I think that the Asian preference for what some Westerners would define as "cluttered" websites comes from their real, offline life and communication codes. A few years ago, when I was visiting Taipei, while waiting at a train station, I saw the building that is shown in the picture below, and immediately "recognized" a typical Asian website: full of small banners of different colors, with a very high number of communication elements with different messages. And the association was, for me, clear.

So the design change by Google in Korea (as, in the past by other companies like Yahoo!), does not put their "Corporate Brand" in danger -- on the contrary, it shows that they are willing to change in order to be recognized as a local player, not as the "American" one anymore.

via www.globalbydesign.com

The larger question is how far Google will go to localize itself for a market. This is a question every global company must answer. At what point does a company go too far?

Taipei_building_portal
Building in Taipei, Taiwan

GoogleKRbefore
Google Korea in 2008

GoogleKRafter
Google Korea in 2009

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