South Korea’s KT To Buy Stake In Hyundai Heavy’s Robotics Unit


Juan Pedro Tomás

South Korean carrier KT plans to acquire a 10 per cent stake in a robotics unit of compatriot shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries Group to enhance its competitiveness in smart factory and robot solutions, Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

KT said it will acquire the stake in Hyundai Robotics Co. for a total of KRW 50 billion (US$41.4 million). Hyundai Robotics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings.

The South Korean telco also inked a partnership with Hyundai Heavy Industries on various smart solutions.

KT said it will focus on software development using its 5G network, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data solutions, while Hyundai Robotics will be responsible for developing the hardware. Together, they plan to make service robots, in addition to industrial robots.

For the smart factory sector, KT agreed to provide its latest telecommunications and security solutions, while Hyundai Robotics will supply its robot-related technologies to develop a better smart factory platform.

In November 2019, KT and Hyundai Heavy Industries Group had announced a collaboration to jointly develop advanced smart factory solutions based on 5G.

In May 2019, the two companies had inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join forces for a 5G-based smart factory. Since then, the two firms have been working on projects to combine KT’s 5G network, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data technologies with Hyundai Heavy Industries’ robotics and shipbuilding expertise.

Last year, KT had announced plans to launch an advanced smart factory solution based on its 5G network with the aim of raising productivity at local factories.

The smart factory solution, dubbed “FactoryMakers,” was developed in partnership with local manufacturers and IT solutions providers.

KT also said that its enterprise-focused 5G network features strong security measures against cyber hacking attempts and provides tailored solutions for the manufacturing sector.

KT’s efforts in the smart manufacturing sector are part of a government’s plan to expand smart factories to upgrade the nation’s current manufacturing industry. The government’s goal is to create 30,000 smart factories and 10 industrial zones by 2022.

The mobile network operator launched commercial 5G services in the country in early April. KT is the second largest carrier in the Asian country, with nearly 31 per cent share of the mobile market.

KT ended the first quarter of 2020 with a total of 1.78 million 5G customers, after a net addition of 360,000 subscribers in the period.

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