Naver and Kakao to clash in contest of pride with AI-enabled services

2021.11.22 15:45:17 | 2021.11.22 15:45:41

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South Korea’s platform archrivals Naver and Kakao clashing from contents to e-commerce will wage the contest of pride in AI-enabled software applications.

Naver plans to unveil application programming interface (API) of its Korean language artificial intelligence (AI) platform Hyper Clova by the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and industry sources.

The program would allow Korean companies to develop and provide AI services that speak and behave like humans.

Naver in May unveiled the country’s first hyper-scale AI, Hyper Clova, with a capacity of 204 billion machine learning parameters, larger than GPT-3 with 175 billion parameters developed by OpenAI backed by Elon Musk. Naver will release APIs for word processing, summarizing and conversation.

Naver founder and global investment officer (GIO) Lee Hae-jin has been accelerating investments in Hyper Clova. The company has been applying the AI platform to its various services including searching, shopping and logistics to test the service.

The ICT ministry is considering conducting a voucher program to help small- and mid-sized companies and startups employ Hyper Clova. An official from the ministry said that the local AI market would grow rapidly when the hyper-scale AI is made available for SMEs and startups.

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Kakao is also strengthening its blockchain and AI businesses, after Kako founder and chairman Kim Beom-su picked the two areas as the company’s next growth engine. He has been leading the company’s AI lab Kakao Brain since 2017. The company has also recently established blockchain accelerator Krust in Singapore and non-profit Klaytn Foundation.

During the company’s annual conference ‘if Kakao 2021’ last week, Han Jae-sun, CEO of Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary GroundX, said it has established the subsidiary and foundation in Singapore to accelerate overseas entries. It will back Klaytn-based services and business with 300 billion won ($253 million) worth funds and consider a spinoff of a killer service developed on Klaytn, he added.

Kakao has also been reinforcing AI business as one of the two pillars of its future growth engine. Kakao Enterprise CEO Baek Sang-yeop said Kakao’s AI personal assistant Casper would help users significantly enhance work efficiency and be upgraded to become like Iron Man’s Jarvis within five years.

Kakao Enterprise unveiled its new technology Speech to Text at the conference. The program allows companies to develop a customized AI dictation platform by simply putting some necessary data.

By Lim Young-shin, Oh Dae-seok and Choi Mira

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