“We aim to hook customers with more interesting content than what you'd find on Netflix or YouTube.”
CEO Choi Se-ra (photo) of the online bookstore Yes24 said during a press conference held on Thursday at a hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul. With the decline in the number of avid readers, Yes24 recognizes that its competition lies not only among traditional bookstores but also among content companies. “Books are sought after by individuals at some point in their lives when they aspire for a better life," Choi said. "While selling books is becoming more and more challenging, Yes24 aims to transform into a ‘cultural platform’ where books serve as a starting point for exploration.”
Choi, who has been with Yes24 since 2003, assumed the CEO position in March. Her appointment marks a significant milestone as the first instance of a former employee rising to the CEO role within the company. Moreover, she is the first woman to lead a bookstore among three major bookstores, including Yes24, Kyobo Bookstore, and Aladdin. In her role, Choi shares the position of co-representative with Vice Chairman Kim Seok-hwan of Hansae Yes24 Holdings, the holding company.
Choi played a pivotal role in driving Yes24's offline expansion. In 2016, she spearheaded the launch of a secondhand bookstore in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, diversifying the company's presence beyond its online bookstores. “While working, I didn't feel the presence of a glass ceiling," Choi said. "Upon assuming the head of the book business in 2018, I experienced a sense of unfamiliarity being the sole female leader in company meetings.”
Marking its 24th anniversary this year, the company introduced Yes24 Original, a platform focused on securing exclusive content, in March. As part of this initiative, new works by artists Jeong Bo-ra and Cheon Seon-ran were released. “By September this year, we aim to launch an application that facilitates book reviews and ratings, allowing readers to connect offline and engage with one another," the CEO said. "We’ll provide new experiences by arranging meetings between readers."