Naver Corp., on Thursday, reported a 54 percent jump in its net profit in the first quarter from a year earlier. South Korea’s top internet portal operator also reported a 7.4 percent increase in its operating profit in the first quarter.
Thanks to a surge in demand for online shopping transactions and Naver’s webtoon services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s total sales reached 1.73 trillion won ($1.41 billion). The sales represent a 14.6 percent increase year-on-year.
In this year’s first quarter, net profit reached 134.9 billion won ($109.5 million), compared to 88 billion won ($71.6 million). Operating profit for the same period climbed to 221.5 billion won ($180.1 million), according to Naver’s regulatory filing on Thursday.
As more people turn to online shopping due to social distancing measures, revenue from Naver’s business platform expanded to 749.7 billion won ($609 million), a 12 percent increase on-year.
However, as companies reduced their advertising budget due to the economic slump, ad revenue fell to 144 billion won ($117 million), a 16.2 percent drop.
Naver’s CEO, Han Seong-sook, said Naver’s user base for its online store surged from 8 million in January to 10 million in March.
The operator’s IT platform business sales also increased by 49.4 percent compared to last year. As companies implemented work-at-home schemes, increased online purchases lifted sales of Naver Pay and other cloud computing services to 148.2 billion won ($120 million).
Content sales from Naver webtoons went up a whopping 58 percent on-year to 55.4 billion won ($45 million). The content service business recently achieved 62 million monthly active users across the world.
Line, Naver’s messenger app, and other platforms achieved 634.8 billion won ($515.2 million), a 12.3 percent increase.
Han said that Naver would strive to find new opportunities to drive growth in the era of the untact market. The company would also increase cooperation with various distribution companies and brands.
However, the company believes that the COVID-19 pandemic would impact more of its business in the second quarter this year.