SK Telecom announced today that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to collaborate on the development of the innovation capabilities in Saudi Arabia by benchmarking Korea’s Creative Economy Concept. In addition, both companies agreed to explore development of mutually rewarding business opportunities inSaudi Arabia and potentially the region, especially in areas including digital healthcare, education and Smart Cities.
The MOU signing ceremony was held on March 4, 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, where the Korean-Saudi Business Forum took place, and was attended by senior executives from both sides, including Yu Jeong-joon, Chairman of SK Global Growth Committee, as well as high ranking government officials, including Choi Yang-hee, Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning of Korea. Jang Dong-hyun, President and CEO of SK Telecom, signed the MOU on behalf of SK Telecom withEmad A. Al Aoudah, acting CEO of STC, on behalf of STC.
Under the MOU, SK Telecom and STC will benchmark ‘SK Creative Economic Innovation Center*’ and collaborate on the development of the innovation capabilities in Saudi Arabia with the aim to promote the creation of diverse mutually-beneficial business models between large companies and small startups in the Kingdom.
* In line with the Korean Government’s Creative Economy philosophy, SK Group and the Government have jointly established a Creative Economic Innovation Center in Daejeon, Korea, to support the growth of startups and small-and medium-sized enterprises.
SK Telecom expects the partnership to serve as a vehicle where not only the two companies, but also venture companies of both countries can work together to develop innovative technologies and solutions, thus opening up new opportunities for growth in both markets.
Moreover, SK Telecom and STC have also agreed to share technological expertise and marketing knowhow in diverse areas to strengthen their business presence not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the overseas markets. SK Telecom will share its products and marketing capabilities in areas of smart cities, digital healthcare, smart learning, IoT, Lifeware (life+hardware/software) and BEMS (Building Energy Management System). Through business collaboration on these areas, STC expects to secure new growth engines, extending its reach beyond the telecommunications market.
STC, the leading telecommunications company in Saudi Arabia, has a total of 160 million subscribers in theMiddle East and South East Asia. With 70 percent of its shares owned by the Saudi Government, STC plays a pivotal role in the Government’s drive to achieve advancement of the national economy. Thus, the MOU between SK Telecom and STC holds a significant meaning for both SK Telecom and Korea as it marks the first case where a Korean model for economic revitalization is applied to another country, and opens the door to valuable opportunities in the Middle Eastern market for new digital/ICT-based growth businesses, including smart cities, healthcare and smart learning, the size of which is expected to reach KRW 33 trillion over the next five years.
“The strategic cooperation between Saudi Telecom Company and SK Telecom is significant not just for the two companies but also for the two nations. It will provide a chance for customers of the two companies to experience innovative technologies, overcoming the geographical limitations, while playing a pivotal role in revitalizing economic growth of both Korea and Saudi Arabia,” said,Jang Dong-hyun, President and CEO of SK Telecom. “Going forward, we hope to deepen our cooperation by expanding the areas of collaboration, including innovative business areas where SK Telecom and Korean venture companies have strength such as information security solutions.”
“This strategic partnership will facilitate the collaboration between firms in both Saudi and South Korea to pioneer innovative technologies and revitalize the economies of their countries,” Al-Biyari, CEO of STC explained. He added that the project will incorporate best practices to accelerate the development of technological solutions which increase workflow effectiveness and efficiency for individuals, businesses, and governments.
In January 2015, senior officials of STC have visited SK Creative Economic Innovation Center to hold a joint workshop. Since then, SK Telecom has been making aggressive efforts to accelerate its cooperation with the Saudi Arabian company and the Saudi Government by dispatching a special team of experts to the Kingdom in early February to discuss measures to foster venture companies and build a win-win ecosystem for both large companies and SMEs.
Also, SK Telecom’s President and CEO Jang Dong-hyun met with the STC’s Chairman of the Board, Managing Director Abdulaziz A. Alsugair on March 2, 2015, at STC’s booth at MWC 2015 held in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss ways to develop new business opportunities and growth engines for STC by applying the concept of Creative Economy and developing innovative technologies and services in new business areas.
About SK Telecom
SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM, KSE: 017670), established in 1984, is Korea’s largest telecommunications company with more than 28 million mobile subscribers, accounting for over 50% of the market. The company reachedKRW 17.164 trillion in revenue in 2014. As the world’s first company to commercialize CDMA, CDMA 2000 1x, CDMA EV-DO and HSDPA networks, SK Telecom launched the nation’s first LTE service inJuly 2011. SK Telecom also became the world’s first mobile carrier to commercialize 150Mbps LTE-Advanced inJune 2013 and 225Mbps LTE-Advanced inJune 2014 through Carrier Aggregation(CA). In line with its efforts to swiftly move towards the next-generation mobile network system, or 5G, it successfully commercialized 300Mbps tri-band LTE-A CA. As ofDecember 2014, the company has over 16.7 million LTE and LTE-Advanced subscribers. Based on its strength in network operations business, SK Telecom is seeking new growth engines in areas of platform, Big Data and convergence business.
About Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
STC is the leading national provider of telecommunication services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company is working continuously to fulfill and satisfy the market requirements, keeping pace with the emerging technologies in the telecommunications sector and satisfying its customer’s needs. STC has put in its consideration that, this is the way to reinforce its position and identity, in view of a changing world, where the role and usage of telecommunications became more significant. Believing in the importance of its customers and fulfillment of their needs, STC has adopted a new Broadband Strategy that aims to support and re-enforce its leading competitive position. Based on this strategy, STC strives to continue to enhance customer- centric culture in all its business aspects. This culture has been reflected in the organizational design of the company that focused on the Key STC Customer Categories. In the last few years, STC has gone beyond its local borders to the international markets, forming a network of businesses and investments in a number of Gulf Cooperation Countries, Asia & Africa, which enabled STC to serve a greater number of global customers.