KT plans to rise to the top of local cloud market

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KT plans to rise to the top of local cloud market

KT will strengthen its cloud business over the next several years by offering customized cloud storage solutions to companies and institutions, the mobile carrier announced Tuesday. Its goal is to achieve 1 trillion won ($897 million) in annual sales by 2023.

As part of the effort, KT will inject 500 billion won and train 1,000 specialists in cloud technology over the next five years. It hopes to expand cloud storage market in Korea to value 7 trillion won by 2023.

“Cloud [storage] is no longer a simple infrastructure service,” said Shin Soo-jung, senior executive vice president of the IT Planning Group at KT, at a press event held in central Seoul on Tuesday. “KT will lead the 5G-based innovation by demonstrating the smart factory, artificial intelligence-based emergency medical treatment and media streaming using our 5G Edge Cloud.”

The Edge Cloud is a service KT offers through its 5G network. It includes cloud-based services like data analysis, blockchain-based security and error forecasting with real-time information.

KT said cloud storage is a rapidly growing business that is being adopted by global firms like U.S.-based hospitality brokerage company Airbnb and American retailing firm Kroger. But the use of cloud systems in Korea has been limited, primarily due to security concerns and domestic companies’ desire to build their own clouds.

KT, however, says the cloud storage business will become highly lucrative this year following the easing of government regulations.

The government used to limit public and financial institutions from using the cloud due to security concerns, but has lifted the limit starting this year. KT has since unveiled services like public cloud G-Cloud and Financial Security Data Center. KT in April partnered with KEB Hana Bank to put its global loyalty network system in the cloud - the first time a financial company in Korea has used a cloud product from a private company.

“It’s not easy for public and financial institutions to utilize foreign [cloud services] due to the sensitivity of the security issue,” said Shin. “KT installed a network that connects internet data centers and the cloud, lowering the cost of using the service compared to foreign service providers.”

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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