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[MWC 2022] LG U+ CEO pledges to export XR content to Middle East

LG U+ CEO Hwang Hyun-sik speaks to reporters during a press conference held at the MWC 2022 in Barcelona on Wednesday, local time. (LG U+)
LG U+ CEO Hwang Hyun-sik speaks to reporters during a press conference held at the MWC 2022 in Barcelona on Wednesday, local time. (LG U+)
BARCELONA, Spain -- LG U+ will export virtual reality content to Zain Group, a mobile carrier in the Middle East with more than 50 million users, in its effort to take initiative in the burgeoning global XR market.

During a press conference held at the Mobile World Congress 2022 in Barcelona on Wednesday, local time, LG U+ CEO Hwang Hyun-sik said the South Korean telco will aim to sell content to Zain Group, Oman’s No. 1 mobile carrier Omantel and Malaysia’s No. 3 player Celcom.

“Starting with the partnership with Zain Group, which has 50 million users, LG U+ will aim to export its platforms including U+ Idol Live and U+ Live,” Hwang said.

“When 5G was commercialized in 2019, we thought deeply about what kind of value we can provide to customers. We thought that the way we watch videos should be different and decided to offer XR service.”

The CEO further added that LG U+ has since exported $24 million of XR content and solutions. The firm will further supply the global market with K-Pop content, which is taking the world by storm.

In particular, Idol Live, which allows fans to participate virtually in concerts with hyper reality in real time will play a critical role in spreading Korean content, the CEO added.

Regarding the dispute between LG U+ and CJ ENM, the CEO explained that the conflict has been resolved, adding that CJ ENM content will continue to stream on the LG U+ platform.

In June, CJ ENM, a Korean entertainment giant, cut the feed of its 10 channels to LG U+, demanding a 175 percent increase in royalties. LG U+ refused to accept the demand, saying that it had already raised royalties 9 percent in 2019 and 24 percent in 2020.

As the conflict continued, authorities intervened to protect consumers. But the two firms failed to reach an agreement, resulting in the termination of the partnership last year. The two reportedly filed lawsuits against each other, but dropped their cases for strategic reasons.

Now that the conflict has ended, the two companies are tasked with signing a contract for the next two years. The two companies agreed on signing a contract first, but challenges remain. LG U+ expressed concerns about how access to information about CJ ENM’s content had been denied. Simply put, LG U+ didn’t know which content would come from CJ ENM. It remains to be seen whether CJ ENM will provide LG U+ with information such as ratings.

On top of targeting K-pop fans, LG U+ will provide business-to-business 5G solutions, targeting smart factories and artificial intelligence contact centers as their main customers.

By Son Ji-hyoung and Kim Byung-wook Korea Herald correspondents (consnow@heraldcorp.com) (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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