Hyundai Card, Pantech join hands

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Hyundai Card, Pantech join hands

The nation’s most design-oriented credit card company and the third-largest smartphone maker will join hands to develop a stylish new smartphone, marking the first collaboration between the two industries.

Hyundai Card and Pantech announced yesterday that they will launch a co-developed smartphone next year, aiming to make the device not just a simple means of communication but a core part of consumers’ lives.

“The main purpose is to provide consumers with phones that are different in terms of design and can bear innovation at the same time, giving them greater choices,” said the companies in a joint statement. “It will be a new attempt in the current smartphone market that is full of similar designs, prices and specifications.”

Hyundai Card will fully capitalize on its design and marketing abilities in this project, while Pantech, highly recognized for the country’s first Sky mobile phone series in the early 2000s, is looking to use this opportunity to overcome its current debt crisis by demonstrating technological prowess. It will now focus on research and development for the technology and production.

Last month, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding for this project, informally called Brooklyn. “We believe we can reinterpret the value of the smartphone and represent it in a new design and function,” a Hyundai Card spokesman said. “Like Brooklyn, which has been transformed into the liveliest place in New York, this project will imbue life into Pantech.”

There have been collaborations before between the information technology industry and the auto industry, as well as in the fashion industry, but this is the first time a smartphone maker has joined hands with a credit card company.

Hyundai Card is widely known for its collaborations with Kia Motors, in which the company changed the image of the compact vehicle Ray. The project, named My Taxi, won gold in the latest iF design awards.

Pantech was the first Android smartphone provider in Korea.

“The current smartphone market is overly competitive in terms of specifications, similar design and high prices,” a Pantech spokesperson said. “Through collaboration with Hyundai Card, we want to produce smartphones with fresh designs and reasonable prices.”

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]



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