– KT Invests 50 Billion Won for 10 Percent Equity in Hyundai Robotics
– Intelligent Service Robots to be Jointly Developed for Market Entry
– KT’s 5G, AI Capability to Sharpen Korea’s Industrial Competitiveness
KT Corp. (KRX: 030200;NYSE: KT), South Korea’s largest telecommunications company, announced it signed strategic cooperation and investment contracts with Hyundai Robotics, to speed up collaboration for digital transformation based on 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart factory.
Under the contracts, KT will acquire a 10 percent equity stake in Hyundai Robotics, the leader in the Korean industrial robotics market, for 50 billion won.
KT also signed a business cooperation agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings for joint efforts toward digital transformation.
The signing ceremony, held at the KT headquarters in central Seoul, was attended by KT President Ku Hyeonmo, Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Chung Kisun and Hyundai Robotics CEO Seo Yoo-seong, and other senior executives.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2019 and the new contracts solidify their ongoing collaboration to spread digital transformation based on 5G, AI and smart factory. They intend to quicken joint development of intelligent service robots, technological research in autonomous driving, and smart factory solutions.
“In the post-COVID 19 era, KT is prepared to contribute to strengthening the Republic of Korea’s industrial competitiveness and the transformation of our nation’s manufacturing industry, taking advantage of our 5G and AI capability in cooperation with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group,” said KT President Ku. “Beginning with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, we will do our utmost to expand digital transformation in diverse areas.”
KT will undertake software development and applications related to intelligent service robots and autonomous driving, while Hyundai Robotics will be responsible for hardware development and manufacturing. This is expected to lead to the introduction of intelligent robots that not only provide hotel amenities but also serve food and beverages at restaurants, and cleaning patrol robots loaded with cleaning and security functions. For entry into the service robot market, the two parties also plan to develop collaborative robots for small factories and large franchise stores.
For a smart factory, KT will provide communication technology, cloud, ICT solutions, and related bundle products, while Hyundai Robotics will supply robots and relevant solutions. In particular, the combination of KT’s smart factory solutions, dubbed “5G Factory Makers,” and Hyundai Robotics’ Hyundai Robot Management System (HRMS) is expected to heighten smart factory process analysis, production management and predictive maintenance. The toolkits of both sides will also be applied jointly for smart hospitals and logistics.
Along with its equity participation in Hyundai Robotics, KT will seek an exchange of human resources to help refine elevation of Hyundai Robotics’ competitiveness in robotics and smart factory.
“Beyond mere production, the competitiveness of manufacturers will be determined in the future by the ability of individual businesses to read market trends and transform themselves.” said Chung Kisun, Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) of Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings. “Through expansive business cooperation with KT, we believe that not only Hyundai Robotics but the entire Hyundai Heavy Industries Group will be able to achieve digital transformation and thereby improve our competitiveness as leading enterprises in the world.”
Hyundai Robotics, spun off from Hyundai Heavy Industries in April 2017, became a separate corporation specialized for robotics and smart solutions in May this year. It provides smart factory and smart logistics services, and has two subsidiaries – Hyundai Robotics Shanghai and Hyundai L&S (Logistics and Solutions). The company aims for an initial public offering in 2022.
In accordance with their business cooperation agreement, KT and Hyundai Heavy Industries Group will delineate details of their collaboration, particularly through a new senior committee on joint efforts in smart solutions, digital transformation, AI and ICT, as well as other business opportunities. The group will include KT President Ku and Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) Chung Kisun.
Last year November, KT and Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings conducted a joint presentation on their 5G-based business cooperation, focusing on smart factory and smart shipbuilding. In February this year, they launched “AI One Team,” aiming to lift Korea to global leadership in AI, and two months later, KT and Hyundai Robotics introduced “N Bot,” an upgrade from KT’s second-generation GiGA Genie hotel robot in terms of both function and design, at the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotel. It was followed by the signing with Hyundai Construction Equipment of a memorandum of understanding for “joint development and commercialization of 5G smart construction equipment and industrial vehicle platform.”
KT expects that its cooperation with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group will expand digital transformation into diverse industrial fields, eventually enhancing national competitiveness. To that end, KT is exerting corporation-wide efforts for digital transformation to help maximize efficiency and widen business opportunities of companies on the basis of its expertise in 5G network, AI, Big Data, cloud and ICT solution.