Skip to content

BCG Announces 100 Tech Challengers: South Korea's Rising Stars in the Spotlight

Photo by Wojciech Then / Unsplash

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently announced its list of 100 Tech Challengers, recognizing emerging market companies that have become powerful forces in technology and other industries.

In addition, the new generation of tech challengers is characterized by greater geographic diversity, with companies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia.

Since 2014, more than 10,000 tech companies have been founded in emerging markets, with 47% located outside China.

BCG's Tech Challengers hail from 14 countries across all major regions and operate in various sectors, including B2C and B2B.

While two-thirds of the challengers focus on consumer applications or services, one-third are transforming how other companies work through B2B solutions.

South Korea has several tech challengers on BCG's list, identified through six selection criteria, including prominence in the emerging market, a technology-focused business, regional industry leadership, a promising business model, a recent valuation or enterprise value of at least $500 million, and proven market transactions.

The South Korean Tech Challengers include

  • Commerce: Coupang, Market Kurly, and Ticket Monster
  • Communications: Kakao
  • Fintech: Kakao Bank and Viva Republica
  • Gaming: Krafton and Pearl Abyss

These challengers have a combined valuation of $35 billion, with an average valuation of $4.3 billion.

In addition, BCG points out that these tech challengers are growing six times faster than S&P 500 tech companies.

Kakao Bank is recognized as the world's most successful digital bank. It reached break-even in three years, the fastest in the banking industry.

Over 20% of adult South Koreans have a Kakao Bank account, five times higher than leading players. The bank also has the most increased traffic of any banking app in South Korea.

BCG's 100 Tech Challengers illustrates emerging market companies' growing influence and success in the technology sector.

South Korea's rising stars, such as Kakao Bank, demonstrate the potential for global impact and transformative growth.