Sunday, November 15, 2015

Korea is #1 in Dropbox syncing

It turns out Korea ranks #1 when it comes to Dropbox users who "use their Dropbox accounts on at least two devices."

 Here are the top syncer schools globally:
  1. Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (South Korea)
  2. Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain)
  3. Seoul National University (South Korea)
  4. Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (Netherlands)
  5. Yonsei University (South Korea)
The top 20 list for syncer schools is dominated by Korean and Spanish universities: Six of the top 20 are in South Korea. [Dropbox Blog | Collaborators and syncers]

I'm a bit surprised by this. I personally haven't really noticed much personal cloud-based file-sharing going on. Now online webhards are a different story, but that's not exactly file-syncing, just TV show and movie downloading. As for personal cloud-based storage, even though the tech scene here is pretty advanced, it's just not something I've noticed a lot of. I think Dropbox themselves noticed this, as you can see in this recent interview. I'm cutting a lot out of the ansewer, but here's the part I found interesting (my highlighting):

Many Koreans tend to use N-Drive and cloud services provided by their telecom carriers like SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, as most of them connect to cloud service via smartphones. In this sense, Korea seems like a somewhat closed market. [...]
We are surprised that Korea is so advanced in a lot of ways, but we found that people aren’t using any of these cloud services and it’s great. We have an opportunity to make things better for a lot of people and it’s a big open market for us.
[Korea Joongang Daily | Dropping in to Korea's cloud storage scene]

He can say that again. The telecoms offer some outrageous amounts of free online storage, but I have yet to interact with anyone, either professionally or personally, who uses their telecom cloud storage at all, or some of the similar services. Remember, I'm just talking me here. Don't take it as statistical fact. 

Now I have sent/received plenty of large-sized files via Naver N-Drive. I would guess N-Drive syncing would be more popular. Anyway, it seems students at some of the best Korean schools (KAIST and SKY!) are fans of Dropbox and its multi-device convenience. I'd be real curious to know what kind of files they're syncing, and whether it's actual academic work, or just movies and TV shows. I can imagine some kid on the subway Wi-Fi streaming Naruto, which he grabbed off a web-hard from his desktop, to his Note via Dropbox. 

Then again, as I talked about before, it was also KAIST that came in #1 for nighttime Dropbox syncing. Now, I don't know what kind of files they are streaming so heavily and so late at night. I'll leave that up to you. Bottom line: KAIST students really seem to like Dropbox. 

Or, here's another possibility: It could just be that KAIST/SKY students are wealthy enough to own multiple mobile devices, and even though Dropbox itself might be more popular outside Korea than inside, non-Koreans may simply run Dropbox on a single computer as cloud-backup (like my parents do) or just sync between home and work computers.

So overall, if I had to make a guess, I'd say Koreans' tendency to have multiple mobile devices and ubiquitous high-speed wireless internet help it to beef up the numbers in terms of data streaming/syncing that not many other countries could match. Dropbox use might just be a small piece of a larger file-streaming pie. 

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