KT Group chairman Hwang Chang-gyu has pledged to invest 23 trillion won (US$20.37 billion) over the next five years. The large-scale investment plan comes three years after the company announced a plan to invest 13 trillion won (US$11.51 billion) in 2015.
The group announced its innovation-led growth plans on Sept. 10, which are designed to establish the Fourth Industrial Revolution infrastructure, provide innovative growth employment support programs, promote mutual growth with small and mid-size companies and create 6,000 jobs for college graduates.
The group is planning to invest 3.9 trillion won (US$3.45 billion) in the ICT sector, including artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud platform, 9.6 trillion won (US$8.5 billion) in the network sector, including 5G technology, and 9.5 trillion won (US$8.41 billion) to advance information technology (IT) and promote the group's expansion. It will also invest 500 billion won (US$442.87 million) in the cloud sector, the base of data freeway, to vitalize the data economy.
KT Group will help small and mid-size firms develop businesses related to AI, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as push into the global market. In particular, the group pledged to provide them with opportunities on the preferential basis to build the networks, supply equipment and develop services in the 5G sector.
In addition, it will invest 10 billion won (US$8.86 million) to activate joint research and development (R&D) projects with small and mid-size companies and create win-win cooperation funds worth 500 billion won (US$442.87 million) in the next five years to help stabilize them.
KT Group will also actively support the overseas expansion of small and mid-size companies. In fact, the group jointly developed a UHD set-top box and the AI-based set-top box GiGa Genie with Kaon Media Co., a South Korean technology company which specializes in the development and manufacturing of digital connectivity devices, including IPTV set-top boxes, and exported them to 24 countries around the world.
KT Group has decided to make an investment mainly in the 5G sector because it has to commercialize related services starting from next year. The South Korean government and the mobile communications industry initially aimed to commercialize 5G services in 2020. However, they have advanced the schedule by one year to next year as China and Japan are hot on the trail.