SKT vows $1.1 billion in ICT ‘shared’ investments

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SKT vows $1.1 billion in ICT ‘shared’ investments

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Ha Sung-min, SK Telecom CEO, gives a presentation on the mobile company’s 1.2 trillion won (1.1 billion dollar) investment plan to develop the ICT industry in central Seoul yesterday. [NEWSIS]

SK Telecom CEO Ha Sung-min said yesterday the nation’s largest mobile carrier will invest 1.2 trillion won ($1.1 billion) in the next five years to bulk up Korea’s information and communication technology (ICT) industry in line with the government’s “creative economy” initiative.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning earlier set a target to create 408,000 ICT jobs in line with the initiative.

SK Telecom will actively invest in ICT convergence businesses, such as health care and B2B solutions.

“We regret that we have neglected the ICT industry by not establishing an alliance with competitive companies and creating new services,” said the CEO in a press conference at the company headquarters in central Seoul.

“From now on, we plan to concentrate on expanding the ICT ecosystem by actively investing in convergence businesses linking non-ICT industries with ICT. Based on the world’s best mobile network infrastructure and future-oriented R&D capabilities, we will create new convergence services in conjunction with the ICT industry by combining devices, networks and software.”

The company will invest 750 billion won in solutions development, 300 billion won in research and development and 150 billion won in other convergence businesses.

The convergence businesses include intelligent video and health-care businesses that combine medical care with ICT.

The mobile carrier is set to practice so-called “shared growth” - a slogan of the Park Geun-hye administration - by creating ICT-based jobs and providing entrepreneurship support for baby-boomers.

Through its Happy Entrepreneurship project, the company plans to provide support to baby-boomers establishing start-ups or trying to stabilize their businesses.

It will also establish a Happy Incubator Center to operate programs for retired baby-boomers. It will invest 30 billion won for the entrepreneurship support.

“Baby boomers have not been able to take advantage of their abundant knowledge and experience and often fail after jumping into self-employed retail businesses,” said Ha. “We will provide a full package of support for their ideas, products, marketing and sales.”

The CEO also added that SK Telecom will help diversify IT start-ups that are concentrated on smartphone apps development to hardware as well.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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