KT signs deal with Russia's Medsi for checkup centers
KT signed an agreement with Medsi Group, one of the largest health care operators in Russia, to build checkup centers in Russia using the Korean telecom's digital technologies, the company said Thursday.
Through the deal with Medsi Group, a medical subsidiary of the Russian investment company Sistema that owns 91 hospitals and clinics across Russia, KT will build checkup centers in Moscow and Vladivostok this year.
The two companies will establish a joint venture this year to build centers in other countries, especially in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The CIS has nine member states including Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The joint venture will use KT’s tech capabilities, including automated analysis of medical information.
The agreement came after Sistema officials visited Korea last October to check out its health checkup system. Russia doesn't have an organized health checkup industry and an average of 30,000 Russians have been visiting Korea yearly since 2019 for medical reasons, according to a study by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute.
KT will accelerate its entry into the medical market starting with the deal with Medsi, the company said.
“We will establish a primary healthcare belt that connects not only Moscow and Vladivostok but other major cities for the health of the Russian people, while also driving the growth of KT’s digital health care business,” the company said in a statement.
KT has been making major moves into the Russian market, especially outside of its traditional telecom business.
Last month, the company signed an agreement with the Yandex Self Driving Group (SDG), a subsidiary of Moscow's search engine operator Yandex, to develop self-driving delivery robots in Korea.
The telecom also started a test run of its automated parking lot management system in partnership with the Vladivostok city government last September.
Its focus on Russia is in line with CEO Ku Hyeon-mo’s global ambitions.
The company owned a 79.96 percent stake in the New Telephone Company (NTC) in Russia until 2011, when it sold it to VimpelCom for $346 million.
The telecom is trying to build its high-tech capabilities including artificial intelligence (AI) development, robotics and cloud computing service to generate revenue streams beyond telecom services.
“We must nurture our competitive edge through partnerships and find new global opportunities," Ku said in a speech on Jan. 3.
"KT’s new businesses are expected to start bearing fruit this year through strategic alliances with multiple partners spanning a wide range of areas," according to a report by Choi Min-ha, a senior analyst at Samsung Securities.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]