SK Telecom gains foothold in China health care

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SK Telecom gains foothold in China health care

SK Telecom, the nation’s No. 1 mobile carrier, is entering the Chinese market through the IT health care sector.

The company said yesterday it is opening the SK Telecom Healthcare Research and Development Center and SK Shenzhen Medical Center in Shenzhen to expand its business to the world’s largest consumer market.

Shenzhen recently designated information and communications technology (ICT), health care and new energy as the three major industries on which it will focus.

Located north of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is China’s 10th-largest city and the country’s first Special Economic Zone.

SK Telecom said it chose Shenzhen by looking at the possibilities of cooperation with major health care businesses in China and the determination of the city government to attract foreign investment.

The mobile carrier has been enhancing its health care business in Korea since last year.

It is pursuing diagnostic medical devices, health care services and businesses related to smart solutions for hospitals.

“The establishment of the SK Telecom Healthcare R&D Center and Shenzhen Medical Center has a significant meaning in that it is the beginning of SKT’s health care business of the future,” said SKT CEO Ha Sung-min.

“We will not only try to discover new growth drivers for SK Telecom, but also help the domestic health care businesses to enter the overseas market so that we can help raise the value of Korea’s ICT and medical service technologies.”

The telecommunications company plans to expand its business overseas with the establishment of the R&D center and medical center as a foothold.

To that end, SKT established a joint venture with Vista Clinic, a Chinese medical company, which operates specialized clinics in Beijing and other large cities, and will participate in the management of the joint venture as the second-largest shareholder.

The R&D center consists of an in vitro diagnostic laboratory, open collaboration center and a public relations exhibition hall for health care businesses.

NanoEntek and Tianlong, diagnostic equipment specialists in which SKT invested, will use the laboratory for R&D.

Ha; Shenzhen Vice Mayor Chen Biao; Fan Ming Chun, chairman of Shenzhen Investment Holding Corporation; and Yan Yi Feng, chairman of Vista Clinic, attended the opening ceremony yesterday.

Before the ceremony, Ha met with the Shenzhen Mayor Qin Xu and discussed ways to cooperate in the expansion of the health care market in the city, SKT said.

During the discussion, the mayor said he will actively support SK Telecom’s health care business by selecting it for a major project that is in line with the municipal government’s policies to foster growth in the biomedical and health care sectors.

According to SKT, Shenzhen City yesterday announced a plan to expand the health care sector to an industry worth 36 trillion won ($35 billion) by 2015.

BY kim jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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