June 27, 2006

Helio targeting Korean Americans

In the Washington Post today, first detailed article I’ve seen about how Helio has been actively targeting Korean Americans with its mobile service, including a Korean-language sub-brand called Helio powered by SK Telecom (SK is a leading South Korean mobile operator and backer, along with Earthlink, of Helio). This was discussed a bit a month ago, as T-Mobile (which reportedly has 35% of Korean American customers) was alleged to be fighting to keep Helio out of some big box retailers, but it’s also a logical step for a company that’s emphasized mobile social networking, messaging, and mobile video — all of which are big business in South Korea. There are estimated to be at least 1.3 million people of Korean ancestry in the United States right now (of which we can assume T-Mobile counts a few hundred thousand customers), although Helio presumably is targeting the younger segment that would go for a $100 a month unlimited messaging and data plan.