SK Telecom, Kakao to collaborate on AI R&D, ESG and IP sharing

2021.03.15 11:21:30 | 2021.03.15 11:22:05

[Photo provided by SK Telecom Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by SK Telecom Co.]

South Korea’s major wireless carrier SK Telecom Co. and the country’s dominant chat app operator Kakao Corp. will together develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, launch a joint environmental, social, and governance (ESG) fund, and open intellectual property (IP) as part of their strategic partnership formed in 2019.

SK Telecom and Kakao said Sunday they have agreed on concentrating their collaborative efforts this year on advancing AI technology, ranging from infrastructure creation to data and language model designing. For this, they will be sharing text, voice and image data to be used in machine learning.

The two will also seek ways to share the outcomes of their R&D collaboration in AI technology with startups and academia.

For more active ESG integration practice, SK Telecom and Kakao will created a joint fund to be used in supporting ESG activities of small-and-medium sized enterprises and startups. For example, they will provide the fund to a plastic recycling business.

The two partners are considering running the fund through Kakao Ventures, a venture capital unit under Kakao.

[Photo provided by SK Telecom Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by SK Telecom Co.]

SK Telecom and Kakao will also share their IP rights not just between themselves but also with smaller players in the related industries to provide them greater and freer access to technologies the bigger rivals have developed.

SK Telecom already has opened up 2,597 patents through IP sharing programs of Korea Invention Promotion Association and Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology over the last five years. The wireless carrier also has offered free use of additional 130 IPs for corporate use.

SK Telecom and Kakao in 2019 forged a strategic partnership through a 300 billion won ($256.5 million) worth share-swapping arrangement. The latest plans are part of the partnership.

Their partnership agreement evolved to include Samsung Electronics Co. to form an AI R&D committee in December last year. The three have worked on developing an AI solution that maps out the location of Covid-19 infection cases in real time for social distancing advices. They plan to unveil the outcome of their collaborative work within the first half of this year.

By Lee Seung-yoon and Cho Jeehyun

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