Google opens its first Asia startup campus in Seoul

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Google's first campus for startups and entrepreneurs in Asia opened on Friday in a glitzy neighborhood of South Korea's capital Seoul.

Google Inc. cited South Korea's flourishing startup scene and pervasive smartphone use as the reasons for picking Seoul after opening similar sites in London and Tel Aviv.

Located in Gangnam, Campus Seoul rents out its 2,000 square meter (21,528 square foot) space to startups and venture investors. It has an open plan office designed to foster collaboration between fledgling companies and a cafe that anyone can use after signing up.

The campus is the latest addition to the expanding startup scene in the Gangnam district which has attracted app developers, entrepreneurs and investors. In the last two years, spaces dedicated to startups such as D. Camp and Maru 180 have also opened.

The area has recently begun attracting venture funds from Japan and Silicon Valley seeking to bet on fledgling companies.

Almost every day, a meeting or a conference among tech startups takes place in Gangnam, also home to a major business complex housing South Korea's largest business group, Samsung.

Google plans to host events for tech startups as well and begin a mentoring program for female entrepreneurs with children.

"Our goal with Campus Seoul is to create a space where entrepreneurs can thrive," Mary Grove, Director of Global Entrepreneurship, said on Google's official blog. "Where they can feel at home with the local community, yet have everything they need to build a global company."

As the only startup campus in Asia backed by Google, Campus Seoul will also help startups from overseas understand the South Korean and other markets in the region, according to Grove.

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