By Lukas Schwarzacher
If you are interested in the Lee Jung single "Let's Dance" or in the latest K-Pop Music Chart, or if you are fascinated by the latest Korean television drama, it's all in Soompi.com, the oldest and largest site of Korean pop culture in English.
And today's JoongAng Daily reports that Seoul-based video search technology provider Enswers Inc. has agreed to acquire the Silicon Valley-headquartered Soompi Media LLC. According to the newspaper, Enswers "will introduce this month a revamped Soompi.com powered by its own video search technology in a bid to bring Korean dramas, music, movies and news to audiences outside the country".
It all started in 1998. Korean-American Susan Kang was a fan of K-Pop. She originally established the site Soompitown.com in which she translated Korean songs and uploaded photos of groups then famous. She also wrote reviews and posted samples of the CDs she liked. And if you're wondering where "Soompi" comes from: it is a nickname Kang was called by her roommate in college.
The website became very popular quickly, with increasing numbers of members attracted by the Korean Wave – or hallyu – spanning movies, television dramas and K-Pop.
Then, in early 2006 Joyce Lan Kim, a lawyer at a technology firm in Silicon Valley, joined Soompi.com in charge of the business side. In 2009 both Kang and Kim decided to leave their full-time jobs and focus on Soompi.com. The result: Soompi.com reportedly has more then 500,000 registered members and some 1.4 million unique visitors every month.
Aside from sections on entertainment news, and beauty and fashion, Soompi.com has its own music charts and annual contests, such as Soompi Dance Idol, Soompi Idol, Soompi Ulzzang Contest and much more. Therefore Soompi.com has generated the most activity among community members.
Today Soompi.com has evolved. Its members come from the U.S.A. and Canada, as well as Australia, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
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