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Facebook Risks Falling Behind, Says Cyworld Founder

In South Korea, Facebook has some catching up to do as local social networking site Cyworld takes the number one position with more than 25 million users.

Woman talking on a phone working on a laptop.
Geri Lavrov | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
Woman talking on a phone working on a laptop.

The co-founder and former CEO of Cyworld, Dong-hyung Lee, told CNBC on the sidelines of the Seoul Digital Forum that Facebook could fall behind in the era of ultra smart devices. “Given that Facebook was born in the era prior to the emergence of ultra smart devices, it has the possibility to fall behind new rivals that incorporate the 'smart' life.”

He added that consumer trends and demands were shifting so fast that technology was unable to keep up.

Lee, who co-founded Cyworld in 1999, sold it off in 2003. He later went on to start Nowprofile whose main social networking website is called Runpipe. His new website looks to incorporate and work with smart phones and other ultra smart gadgets.

"Most of what people share online now is based on the past - what movie they saw, what they did — as they post pictures online. But as we move into a "smart" way of life, people are going to incorporate social networking and technology to plan ahead. I think this is the future," says Lee.

He regrets that during his Cyworld days he was focusing on Windows-based mobile phones instead of Android-based smartphones or Apple's iPhone, which he now wants to correct with Runpipe. He launched it in January this year and has a subscriber base of around 250,000 at the moment. Facebook subscribers have touched 20 million in the country.

And even though Lee sees Facebook increasing its market share in South Korea as people want “to experience something different, from the local versions,” he thinks there is ample opportunity for Runpipe to grow.