The Korea Herald

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SKT buys stake in AI developer Persona.AI

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Aug. 21, 2023 - 15:28

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SK Telecom's headquarters in central Seoul (SK Telecom) SK Telecom's headquarters in central Seoul (SK Telecom)

South Korea's largest telecommunications carrier SK Telecom said Monday that it has become the third-largest shareholder of Persona.AI, a Seoul-based artificial intelligence contact center, or AICC.

The company did not disclose other details, including the deal size and the amount of the stakes it secured.

An AICC offers 24-hour customer consultations via AI chatbots and callbots. Persona.AI, using its own natural language processing engine, offers related solutions and subscription-based services, becoming the first company to do so here. Its key corporate clients include KB Financial Group and Hanwha General Insurance.

SK Telecom said it aims to strengthen its own competitiveness in the burgeoning AICC market by providing total solutions from consulting and infrastructure building to maintenance.

“We will lead the fast-growing AICC market through joint product launches and proactive technology development with Persona.AI and expand the ecosystem to enable voice-based AIs to be used in various industries,” said Lee Gyu-sik, vice president of the AICC business division at SK Telecom.

Under the enhanced partnership, the two companies agreed to develop callbots and chatbots that combine SK Telecom’s own AI voice assistant Nugu and Persona.AI’s AI technologies.

They also will launch contact centers together while developing new services such as voice recognition kiosks and robots.

Persona.AI has also joined the SK Telecom-led AI alliance, called K-AI Alliance, which was launched in February at the MWC in Barcelona, Spain. Currently, there are 11 member companies, including SK Group’s AI chip unit Sapeon; Moloco Korea, the Korean unit of the Silicon Valley-based ad-tech solution startup; and CMES Robotics, a Seattle-based robotics software company.