Naver (CEO, Han Sung-Sook) plans to open Partner Square, an offline base supporting the initiation and growth of small businesses, in Haeundae Centum City, Busan. The venue will be about 300-py big, and it is expected to open at the end of May this year.
Partner Square Busan is the third establishment of Naver following Partner Square Yeoksam and Wangshimni Studio. It is also the first Partner Square opened outside Seoul. Unlike Partner Square Yeoksam, Partner Square Busan will provide new creator support programs as well as Small Businesses supports.
The space planning of Partner Square Busan is complete and the site’s interior design is currently being finished. In addition to the education center, Naver plans to include networking spaces for creators and investors in the building.
Small businesses are extremely active in the Busan/Gyeongsang region. According to Statistics Korea (KOSTAT), Gyeongsang region has the second highest rate of self-employed small businesses — 25.5% — in the nation. City-wise, Busan has the third highest rate (7%) of active small businesses, right after Gyeonggi (23.8%) and Seoul (21.8%). For example, Stylish Window, a service provided by off-line shopping road shops, has about 1,260 stores in the Gyeongsang region, almost the same size as the Seoul metropolitan area. However, its sales volume is 1.5 times that from the Seoul metropolitan area.
Naver plans to operate Partner Square Busan with a special concept for clothing and fashion that reflects the characteristics of small businesses. For this end, the company is preparing programs specialized in clothing and fashion.
Naver CEO Han SungSook stated, “More than half of the sales of top-level Style Window and Food Window businesses from provincial areas come from the Seoul metropolitan area.” He added, “Partner Square Busan will help competitive small businesses grow and redistribute the Seoul-centered wealth to other provincial areas.”
On the other hand, Partner Square Yeoksam, operated by Naver with a 10 billion KRW support, celebrates its 4th anniversary this May. Currently about 200,000 small business operators have received support from experts on areas including online marketing, e-commerce, mobile homepage establishment, business start-up, and studio space support.