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Uber and SK Telecom partner to conquer South Korea’s taxi-hailing market

Posted: 19 October 2020 | | No comments yet

Uber will invest over $100 million in a new joint venture with SK Telecom (SKT), plus another $50 million in T Map Mobility – SKT’s newly-independent mobility business.

Uber app as the ride-hailing company partners with SK Telecom

Uber and SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, are launching a new joint venture designed to create opportunities in the taxi-hailing market in Korea and explore new areas, including future mobility services.

Uber will invest over $100 million in the joint venture, plus another $50 million in T Map Mobility – SK Telecom’s newly-independent mobility business.

A statement says that the joint venture will promote e-hailing in Korea by combining T Map Mobility’s network of drivers and mapping technology with Uber’s ride-hailing technology and global operations expertise.

The joint venture is expected to begin operations, and Uber is expected to invest in T Map Mobility, in the first half of 2021.

“Korea was one of Uber’s first international markets, and we are committed to fully realising its potential. Through our strong partnership with SKT, we will expand access to ride-hailing services in the country, and bring better service to riders and drivers. We look forward to serving the South Korean market in the years ahead,” said Nelson Chai, Chief Financial Officer of Uber.

“Together with Uber, the world’s top mobility platform company, we will turn customer’s time and money spent on mobility into time used for more valuable purposes and realize greater safety for all modes of transportation,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SKT. “To this end, we will work closely with companies with diverse capabilities to address current challenges in transportation, and ultimately usher in a new era of future mobility technologies such as flying cars.”

Mobility has become an increasingly important area of SKT’s business operations, hence the decision to split its Mobility Business Unit into a new company. As it stands, this unit is responsible for services including T Map and T Map Taxi. SKT’s statement says that “T Map is the largest mobility platform in Korea with around 13 million monthly active users”, while “T Map Taxi is the nation’s second largest taxi-hailing service with 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly active users”. It also operates other mobility services, such as T Map Auto, T Map Public Transportation and T Map Parking, all of which will be continued by T Map Mobility.

T Map Mobility will focus on four main mobility businesses: T Map-based platform business in areas of parking, advertising and usage-based insurance (UBI); T Map Auto services such as in-vehicle infotainment and in-car payment; on-demand mobility services such as taxi-hailing and designated driver services; and all-in-one Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) that offers diverse means of transportation at discounted rates through subscription.

SKT’s shareholders are set to meet on 26 November 2020 to approve the split off, which is slated to take place on 29 December 2020.

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