US Internet company Yahoo! Inc. has made its exit from South Korea after 15 years of operation, making it the first Asian market Yahoo has left.

Back in October, the company announced its plan to closed down its South Korea web portal by the end of 2012 “to focus on stronger markets”. Yahoo cited that “the Korean operation has been faced with a lot of challenges and has slowed Yahoo’s overall business growth for the past few years”.

“This decision is part of our efforts to streamline operations and focus our resources on building a stronger global business that’s set up for long-term growth and success,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said.

Yahoo was overshadowed by local portal operators NHN and Daum Communications, accounting for less than 1% of South Korea’s search market, according to Yonhap News Agency.

A recent blog post by a person believed by local media to be a former Yahoo Korea employee fueled speculations that foreign firms could not withstand the highly competitive market condition in the country, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The anonymous author said that “Korea is not a place for foreign companies to pursue success in an efficient way.”

He also added that Korean consumers “need to be more willing to try out different services to have a more global perspective”.

Motorala, HTC and Research In Motion also shut down their operations in South Korea in 2012.