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Yahoo to exit South Korea in first Asian pullout

The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is shown in Sunnyvale, California May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The headquarters of Yahoo Inc. is shown in Sunnyvale, California May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

SEOUL (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc's South Korean operation said on Friday it will quit the country, underscoring its struggle against Google Inc and local competitors expanding aggressively into mobile advertising and online services.

South Korea is the first Asian country Yahoo is leaving, the firm said. An industry pioneer and household Internet brand, it has been overshadowed by global rivals including Facebook Inc and Google in recent years.

"Yahoo has faced several challenges in the past couple of years and decided to pull out of the (Korean) business to put more resources on global business and become more powerful and successful," Yahoo said in a statement.

Yahoo Korea, which started business in 1997 and is wholly owned by the U.S. search company, has around 200-250 employees in South Korea. It will terminate Korean online portal services in December, the company said.

In the South Korean market, it has failed to beat local rivals such as NHN Corp, Daum Communications Corp and SK Communications Co.

Yahoo appointed Google veteran Marissa Mayer as its chief executive in July, its third CEO in less than a year.

Former CEO Scott Thompson resigned after less than 6 months in the job over a controversy over his academic credentials.

Before that, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang had stepped down as CEO, and an internal reorganization cut thousands of jobs.

Yahoo remains one of the world's most powerful websites, with more than 700 million monthly visitors who use products like its email service and read its news pages.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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