KT, Shinhan ink cross-shareholding deal for digital alliance

Shinhan Bank CEO Jin Ok-dong (left) and KT’s management planning chief Park Jong-ook pose after signing a partnership deal at the bank’s headquarters in central Seoul on Monday. (KT-Shinhan Bank)

South Korea’s No. 2 telecom carrier KT and the nation’s second-largest banking group Shinhan Financial Group said Monday that they have forged a new alliance to spur collaborations on futuristic technologies in a cross-shareholding deal.

Under the deal worth 437.5 billion won ($367 million), KT will acquire a 2.08 percent stake in Shinhan Financial Group, while Shinhan Bank, the group’s banking unit, will in return acquire a 5.46 percent stake in KT.

As the result of the transaction, KT will become one of the key shareholders of Shinhan Group, along with the National Pension Service, BlackRock, BNP Paribas, among others. Shinhan Bank also will become one of KT’s key investors, along with the NPS, NTT DoCoMo.

The companies said the cross-shareholding will enhance business continuity of their strategic partnerships for a total of 23 joint projects in the fields of artificial intelligence, metaverse, nonfungible tokens, big data and robotics.

For example, KT‘s capability in data analysis and natural language processing will be integrated with Shinhan Bank’s financial database to better serve financial consumers.

Also, Shinhan‘s Digilog, a brick-and-mortar branch with digital banking features, will add KT’s AI solutions, robots and media walls under the collaboration project.

Moreover, KT and Shinhan will work to jointly launch a set of alternative measures to assess credit ratings of small business owners based on KT’s data-driven business analysis of store locations.

The companies also plan to forge a metaverse alliance, so that KT’s virtual world platform will run on Shinhan‘s financial infrastructure and offer reward points to the metaverse platform users. They also plan to issue digital assets and launch a digital asset exchange.

KT will also use blockchain technology to store intangible data in digital documents by Shinhan, such as contracts, certificates and phone bills.

“A customer-centric digital services based on collaborations, KT will open a new paradigm for digital transformation with Shinhan Bank,” Park Jong-ook, president of KT, said in a statement.

In addition to business collaborations, KT and Shinhan will create a fund to invest in startups at home and abroad, as well as establish a new task force for research and development to explore further collaboration opportunities.

By Son Ji-hyoung(consnow@heraldcorp.com)

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