Jun Hyuk Bang never went to college, was a high school dropout who grew up poor in an outlying part of Seoul. He is now among the country’s richest tech entrepreneurs. Let’s talk about 15 things you did not know about the man behind one of the largest gaming company in Seoul.
Jun dropped out of school because he did not like the country’s way of education which required memorizing material for scoring good in test. He wanted to study the things he was interested in depth. The school dropout became the owner of South Korea largest mobile gaming company.
2.Faced failure initially
Jun has faced two business failures before getting success. Jun was interested in films and so he decided to start his first business in connection to movies. He started an online movie service. But in the 1990’s the country’s Internet service was developing it was primitive and the connection speeds were slow. As a result of which within two years he was forced to close the business.
Jun says his failures have given him valuable lesson in life.
He is the board member of various companies which are:
- CJ Internet Corp
- Plenus Entertainment Inc
- Netmarble Corporation
Netmarble Corporation was founded in 2000 by Jun Hyuk Bang. The company develops and publishes mobile games. Various kinds of games are developed like casual games, action, sports, strategy, stimulation and social casino games.
Jun started Netmarble with a fund of $88,000 pooled from early investors.
Netmarble is South Korea’s largest mobile-gaming company and Jun is its chairman. Netmarble provides its services worldwide.
5.Change of course
Jun left Netmarble to explore other ventures and ended up pursuing a different path, which had no links to gaming at all. In 2006 he bought a stake in a local coffee house chain as well, while he was on his time off from Netmarble
6.New business model
Jun structured a new business model called online game publishing. This model involved getting the game development done externally and Netmarble would be responsible for game distribution, marketing and funding. The profits were divided among everyone that was involved. At that time, the game published successful games like ‘Laghaim’ and ‘Grand Chase’.
The company tried to charge for most of its online games while improving the game distribution structure.
Jun noticed how many phone manufactures were focusing on producing smartphones and he saw the potential of smartphone as becoming a hand-held computing device.
The employees were skeptical when Jun told them his plans of expanding to mobile games and no one volunteered for the new mobile division. Jun appointed one of his personal staff to the team.
Netmarble first hit game came in 2013 “Everybody ChaChaCha”, and soon they drew several investment offers. Jun made the company a huge success with his brilliant strategies.
Jun took the company public in May 2017 and raised $2.4 billion in South Korea’s largest listing in seven years.
After an IPO its shares made a debut which raised 2.66 trillion won and the company value reached about 13 trillion won.
Jun built Netmarble into a billion dollar gaming empire with its action packed games which have become hits across Asia and the U.S.
9.Partnership in 2018
Jun entered into a partnership with Bang Shi-hyuk, the CEO of Big Hit Entertainment.
Netmarble is a top player in the game industry and Big Hit Entertainment is a well-known name in the entertainment agency.
In April 2018, Netmarble bought around 26% of Big Hit Entertainment which made Jun the second largest shareholder.
10.Making his way to Forbes list.
Jun became the 13th richest in Korea’s 50 richest, 2019.
His name also appeared in the Billionaires 2019 list at no 1057.
Jun follows the 24-7 culture in his company. He feels that a man who is not rich or politically powerful has to work hard to survive in Asia’s fourth largest economy.
His motto of working was “like your life depends on it” and this motto made him subject to a national controversy when three workers died between July and November in the same year.
Netmarble later cleared that none of the deaths were affiliated with the company.
12.Compared to Steve Jobs
Jun left his company in 2006 but he had to return in 2011 to save the company from a series of hardships. He is compared to ‘Steve Jobs’ because of the similarity between the two. Both of them left tech companies they had started and then both their companies almost reached their end. Both of them had to return to their companies to save them and they engineered a striking revival.
To expand his company to West Jun attended the annual E3 Gaming Expo in Los Angeles where he studied the latest gaming trends.
He had dinner with the co-founder of MySpace Chris De Wolfe and the chief executive of Los Angeles-based mobile gaming outfit SGN Games, in which Netmarble made an investment of around $130 million and became its majority owner.
Back in 2014 Netmarble also won backing from Chinese giant Tencent Holdings, which invested $US 500 million thus allowing the company to expand its operations.
Bang Jun-hyuk, founder of Netmarble Games, became a millionare with his hard work. His real time net worth as on 24th July is $1.42 billion.
15.Plans to explore blockchain technology
Jun-hyuk Bang believes that blockchain technology would soon be used across all industries. He announced that his company would explore blockchain technology and this led to speculation that he would create its own cryptocurrency “Netmarble Coin”.
Jun’s view on blockchain was that “blockchain with objectivity, reliability and security will be applied to all industries in the future.” He feels that the connection between games and cryptocurrency was huge. Cryptocurrency can be used by users to purchase items and make the transactions more transparent through blockchain technology which would be a legitimate replacement for in-game currencies. Netmarble wants to expand new business areas with research and development in blockchain, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
With South Korean government announcing a new positive direction for their cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation by announcing their plan to make ICO legal again, it won’t be long before Netmarble’s explores this technology.