although you would expect a rather small-but-popular company that came to dominate consumer wireless routers in South Korea, to take-up office somewhere in Gasan Digital Valley in the South-Western outskirts of the Capital of SEOUL, where a bulk of i.T. information technology start-ups are located, aside from older computer parts dealers and On-Line stores in YongSan Electronics Market : they are at the Southern end of a miraculous satellite city of BunDang . you have to visit here once while you are in Korea, to witness a truly artificial city with endless blocks of apartments divided by blocks of shopping malls, schools and parks .
the government had once made a prime project to relocate citizens amassing around the old downtown SEOUL, to South of the Han River thus aptly named KangNam over 1980 . a large barren grassland had been turned over-night (actually in a decade) to a modern city crossed with large roads, where the ambitious SEOUL Olympics were held in 1988 at its East-end, and its central area now home to European import automobile dealers .
still a decade and a half later the government saught the need to relocate more : this time to build-up a whole new city full of ultra-modern apartment housing . because this was actually far-out of SEOUL boundaries they know transportation was key : thus an effective highway and subway system from KangNam as well as Jamsil . three subway routes are available either from KangNam via Shin (meaing NEW) BunDang Line, from ApGuJeong via the earlier BunDang Line and from Jamsil via Subway Line 8 (you have to change once on the latter). but long before subways were built : above this KangNam Station was one of the hubs to commute via express buses going deep into BunDang .
but for those coming from old downtown SEOUL : there are buses that skip the whole KangNam route by getting on the HighWay as soon as you reach the Southern bank of the Han River . either from foreigners residence of HanNamDong and the riche KangNam Subway Station, where buses can take up SEOUL-BUSAN highway, South Korea’s first one built to cross the Peninsula diagonally . I took the former via Bus 8100 which starts from downtown area of JongRo, Uljiro and Seoul KTX bullet train station, making its way through the fashion mecca of MyeongDong and across NamSan (Seoul’s Southern mountain) with last stop in the Capital at HanNamDong in front of foreigner’s apartment complex, but the station’s name is SoonChunHyang Hospital although the actual hospital is in an alley behind .
you zap through the highway even during traffic, because buses have their own lane and reach the first BunDang City Office station in mere 20 minutes ! but then it takes a good 30 more to pass 5 bus station through BunDang’s (only) main road North-South (going South) to get off at JookHyun Village station . look to your Left and ipTime’s office is in the third building across the street as on photo above . photo below is from the opposite side facing directly to the building with KB KukMin Bank at its second floor .
these are market buildings within apartment complexes housing business adhering to their residents . usually you have a mediocre three to five story building for a complex of say 7~8 apartment buildings .. but here the complexes are andromeda-scale thus massive building like these separated different complex groups 0o0 and because all sorts of merchants are crammed (not to say they are small) into the same building : there are extra-study institutes and adult massage parlours as well as all sorts of restaurants to fulfill your palette .
its Official company name : EFM Networks was formed in 2001 but began selling their routers a decade ago from 2003 . they made a sensation early-on with immediate and detailed replies to inquiries posted on their site, as well as faithful support almost like from local conglomerates . most people mail-in their devices via over-night courrier as I did on one of their earliest model, and indeed got it back in three days after a consultation call . this was contrary to imports who didn’t even have sufficient Korean manuals nor have any local phone number, and did NOT receive calls even if they had .
here their main and only office is on the 6th floor . open Weekdays 10am until 10pm ! except Weekends and holidays . Tel.1544-8695 ofcourse NO English because they do not export nor have such plans -_-
there were open even though I went at lunch time at noon . no reception but there is a waiting area where a personnel will be with you in minutes . Yes I had my share of sleepless nights trying to configure routers – even before wireless came to be – in agony most with incomprehensibly incompable well-known brands and/or models into South Korea . this time : a unique case of the second LAN port cut after several hours of usage .. without repair and exchanged on-the-spot instead by filling out a simple form .
after-wards I checked around the area and chose this Korean restaurant across the road from the building, and one alley behind with Japanese-style seats where you take off your shoes but tables will have leg-holes . this Korean barbecue lunch set cost W7,000 😉 was hard to choose because all restaurants including business and all, are inside rectangular mammoth buildings that essentially all look alike .
for the curious the express bus No.8100 from SEOUL stops on the way back at a large complex with ShinSeGae Department Store, Outlet and eMart . then just before you leave BunDang limits : Lotte Department Store is accessible at BunDang City Hall Station .