Mobile carriers consolidate tech biz for new growth drivers
By Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean mobile carriers are merging their tech subsidiaries and consolidating new businesses to boost synergy as they search for new growth drivers beyond their telecommunication operations.
Telecom giant KT Corp. announced it will merge its digital content distribution and television commerce subsidiary KT Hitel Co. and its mobile coupon and advertisement unit KT mhows Co. by July next year.
KT said the consolidation of KT Hitel's logistic channels and KT mhows' 30,000 corporate clients will boost its efforts in the mobile commerce market.
The move comes as KT seeks to develop its non-telecom operations and foster budding tech services.
KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo said in October the company aims for an equal share in sales from its new non-telecommunications businesses, such as cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) services, and from its telecom operations.
Rival wireless carrier SK Telecom Co. has also decided to merge its security subsidiaries in line with efforts to develop new tech services.
The carrier's digital security solutions subsidiary, SK infosec, plans to merge with its physical security unit ADT Caps Co. by the first quarter of next year.
ADT Caps is South Korea's second-largest physical security service operator with a user base of 700,000, while SK infosec offers services such as cyberattack detection.
The carrier said it aims to create the country's top all-round security company through the merger and for the merged company's value to reach 5 trillion won (US$4.5 billion) within three years after the merger.
The move is the latest in SK Telecom's shakeup of its new tech businesses.
In November, the carrier's shareholders approved a spinoff plan for its mobility business, which will work with U.S. mobility giant Uber Technologies Inc. to operate a taxi-hailing service in South Korea.
Major telecom operator LG Uplus Corp. has also reconfigured its business divisions to support nascent tech services.
The wireless carrier said late last month it has decided to create a new business division next year that will oversee its new services, such as those related to smart health, security and education.
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