Park Hee-eun is the 28-year-old CEO of Korea's largest online dating site "ium", which has over 900,000 members and registered annual sales of W4 billion as of July. She achieved this within three years of setting up the business in November 2010 at the age of just 25.
The site provides a social dating service with a twist. Members can be introduced to one person each day via a mobile app that automatically matches their profiles and asks them if they'd like to exchange contact information. Both parties must consent to proceed.
The profile of a member of the opposite sex arrives in the inbox of the ium app at 12:30 p.m. every day. A total of 730,000 couples have got in contact through this app, and 72 have exchanged wedding vows.
Park believes the key to her success is her ability to "accurately grasp the psychology of young single women".
"If you look at similar dating websites in other countries, like Match.com and eHarmony, members have to search for profiles of strangers and contact those that they find interesting. What kind of woman would like to have their photos and profiles exposed to searches by random strangers?"
This line of thought prompted her to devise a business model of introducing members to one potential match a day, a strategy that has proven especially popular among women. The number of women members has rapidly increased, and they now make up over 40 percent of the site's members.
"The reason why we recently upgraded the app and launched ium mobile 3.0 is because I would like to be more sensitive to feedback from women members, who are concerned about the possibility of being introduced to someone they already know as they'd like to keep their membership a secret. Therefore, we revamped the system so that it is now impossible to accidentally be connected to someone who is in your list of prior contacts".
So does Park retain her romantic notions of love?
"I think the chance of meeting Someone Special increases as you meet many different people and experience a spectrum of emotions. No one is 100 percent perfect. You just try to find someone who is the most compatible with you", she said.
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