The major, major, Korean social networking site, Cyworld, has versions in Chinese and Japanese and, beginning today, in English. The US site has been in alpha for many weeks, but today it's open to anyone, so I tried it out. My new "Minihome" is here.
Looking around, i.e. sampling other members via the "Random Minihomes" button, the current US members are predominately Asian Americans. Quite a few members list their MySpace and other contact info prominently on their Cyworld Minihome, but this may be a reflection of the alpha test policies and the familiarity of the Cyworld brand in Korea and Chinese communities.
A key feature of Cyworld in Korea, mobile access, is either missing or downplayed on the US site. That's too bad. Other than that, it was easy to get started and I think I prefer the look of my Minihome to that of my entry on Myspace.
If Myspace didn't already exist, Cyworld US might have a chance, but to go against Myspace at this point they will need a distinctive product position. I don't see at it, at least at the moment. As I commented in July, Facebook is taking the elitist position and thus growing their niche of college kids and college-bound high school kids. Cyworld has an enormous, profitable business in Korea and they are owned by SK Telecom, so they have the resources to stick it out. I'll be interested to see how their product position evolves.