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South Korean telecom giant KT to invest $5.3 billion in AI by 2027

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KT Corporation, a leading player in South Korea’s telecommunication sector, has announced detailed plans to increase its investment in artificial intelligence (AI) after recording initial successes.

The firm, formerly known as Korea Telecom, disclosed its intention to invest KRW 7 trillion ($5.3 billion) into AI research and development within five years. The plans were laid out in a press conference in Seoul, with the executives pointing their crosshairs at several sectors.

KT Corporation will be exploring the use of AI in robotics, customer care, education, and healthcare. In a strong show of ambition, the company plans to exceed KRW 1 trillion ($764 million) worth of AI sales before the end of 2025.

KT Corporation disclosed via its statement that it would explore the prospects of partnerships with leading players in the industry to achieve its lofty ambitions. During the conference, KT Corporation Vice President Song Jae-ho unveiled a collaboration with Singapore’s leading telecommunications firm Singtel to design a first-of-its-kind AI transportation platform.

“KT, as Korea’s leading AI company, will apply its accumulated experience, capabilities, infrastructure, and know-how to the AI business as it is to establish itself as a customer-oriented AI service provider,” Song said. “We will do our best to raise the level of competitiveness of the AI industry in Korea as a whole, as well as KT’s future growth.”

In addition to partnership and sinking funds into research and development, the company is also eyeing the development of a rich AI ecosystem, dubbed ‘AI Full Stack.’ The plan will see the launch of a suite of products, including AI semiconductors and cloud services, to cater to the needs of enterprises building around AI.

KT Corporation is particularly invested in the intersection of AI and robotics, hoping to expand on its previous innovations. In healthcare, the company plans to launch a remote care service and an AI Food Tag for dietary management capable of recognizing over 2000 meals.

Korea preps itself for AI

While private sector development in AI is heating up in South Korea, the government is doubling efforts to close the gap with pre-emptive regulations to ensure safe usage, learning from its rough patch with digital assets.

In mid-June, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to cross-pollinate ideas on the safe use of AI in the country. The president also indicated a desire for South Korea to be an industry leader in AI by increasing its semiconductor investments to meet the growing ecosystem’s demands.

“We are exploring how to increase our investment in Korean startups,” Altman said. “We are excited to meet as many as we can here today. I think this type of collaboration is essential to our work.”

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