Nothing better illustrates South Koreans' love affair with the Internet than stock trading. They buy some two-thirds of their shares online, the world's highest rate. Much of the credit goes to Moon Hong Jib, the executive managing director of Daishin Securities Co., who helped pioneer cybertrading in South Korea four years ago.
A former specialist in computer-aided design and manufacturing for General Electric Co., Moon was a financial novice when he joined Daishin in 1988. He was so ignorant that when he heard senior executives mention maesu, the Korean word for buying shares, he thought they were using a slang term for bribery. "I regretted joining the brokerage industry," he recalls.
Moon soon became a master at adapting the security business to the Information Age. In 1989, he developed online services that provided prices, financial data, and market-moving news items. In 1996, Daishin put all its customer accounts online. So the company was ahead of the pack when the Seoul Stock Exchange switched to electronic trading in 1997.
Today Daishin is Korea's biggest brokerage in terms of overall share transactions--last year it did $469 billion worth--and Moon, 46, is the e-trading mentor to a number of Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese brokerages. "I'm trying to make Daishin the online benchmark for global share trading," he says.