KT increases its support for domestic start-ups

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KT increases its support for domestic start-ups

The mobile carrier KT announced on Sunday that it will ramp up support for early-stage start-ups by spending more on, and cooperating further with, such companies.

The company will join forces with Gyeonggi provincial government to form a 20 billion won ($17.5 million) investment fund aimed at outstanding start-ups, to be distributed in return for a portion of company shares. In the long run, KT aims to become business partners with these start-ups.

Under the government-led initiative to support the Park Geun-hye administration’s signature slogan “creative economy,” KT was one of a dozen large businesses in Korea to open a center for creative industries by partnering with local governments. It launched the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy and Innovation (CCEI) with the Gyeonggi provincial government last April and has since come up with a flurry of investment and support plans in an effort to discover the next economic engine amid the saturated growth that characterizes the mobile services market.

The mobile service operator is earmarking 3 billion won on Tooneed Entertainment, which specializes in webtoon (a portmanteau of “web” and “cartoon”) content, two months after it spent 2 billion won on CarVi, a smart driving technology start-up.

In return for KT’s investment, Tooneed will supply KT’s Olleh Market, a mobile-based content platform, with webtoons. Should the collaboration prove to be a domestic success, KT hopes to circulate the content globally.

Aside from the two start-ups, KT has been working together three companies out of a handful that were hatched at Gyeonggi CCEI. The mobile service company has also remodeled its existing office buildings in major cities nationwide to allow start-ups that have finished their first-stage incubation at CCEI move in and continue their business.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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