The Korea Herald


SK Networks unveils AI investment firm goal

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 16, 2024 - 17:31

    • Link copied

SK Networks President Choi Sung-hwan makes his opening remarks during the company's annual generating meeting for institutional investors in a Seoul hotel on Friday. (SK Networks) SK Networks President Choi Sung-hwan makes his opening remarks during the company's annual generating meeting for institutional investors in a Seoul hotel on Friday. (SK Networks)

SK Networks unveiled its vision to transform into an artificial intelligence-centered business investment firm on Friday and mapped out a plan to triple its operating income to 700 billion won ($524 million) by the end of 2026.

“Based on the innovative foundation of our business model, we will continue to create and grow the happiness of various stakeholders by promoting 'AI democratization,’ ensuring universal access to the benefits of AI technology by fostering a civilization of humanity,” President Choi Sung-hwan said in his opening remarks during the company's annual general meeting for institutional investors in Seoul.

AI democratization puts AI into the hands of users without specialized AI or even technical knowledge. AI chip leader Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang put forth the concept during the 2024 World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday.

An increasing number of IT leaders have sought ways to extend the benefits of AI capabilities across the enterprise since it can empower individuals with the benefits and opportunities of the technology.

"Our commitment is to leverage AI, now a dominant force in both individual lives and industries, as a central pillar for motivating innovation across our company's business endeavors," said the CEO Lee Ho-jeong.

"We strive to seek and implement growth strategies that prioritize corporate value and sustainability. In doing so, we will enhance the overall integrity and maturity of our corporate framework as a business-oriented investment company."

To realize the vision, the company decided to bolster its expertise in AI-related software and hardware, while introducing distinctive AI solutions, dubbed AI. Device, across its key subsidiary businesses, from home appliance and data solutions and consulting to hotel, the president added.

The company said its home appliance affiliate SK Magic would evolve into an AI wellness platform company with the growth of the newly established AI division. It plans to construct a global AI collaboration ecosystem and introduce new AI products and services, ranging from pets and silver care to healthcare, within this year.

SK Magic is seeking a global expansion, aiming to launch the products in the US and India. It has also set a mid-to-long-term goal of achieving an operating margin of 20 percent and a corporate value jumping 30 times by 2028.

When it comes to En-core, a leading player in the data management sector that was acquired last year, SK expressed its ambition to develop it into an AI powerhouse technology company that would offer large language model services tailored for business-to-business and business-to-government clients this year.

Under the goal, the company looks to log an operating profit of 27.6 billion won and 85.8 billion won in sales by 2026.

Walkerhill Hotel and Resorts, which saw a remarkable turnaround last year, is gearing up to shift into an AI hotel through pioneering innovations in both culture and technology.

By merging Korean culture with AI technology, it aims to create a culture that provides customers with differentiated experiences and enjoyment. At the same time, it plans to enhance the local industry's first NFT-based membership.

It anticipates increasing room occupancy to 73 percent within the next three years, while tripling its profits.

SK Networks also presented a plan aimed at bolstering shareholder value. Alongside the recent decision to raise dividends and cancel 6.1 percent of treasury stock during a board meeting, the company decided to use business and investment profits as financial resources to establish a transparent dividend structure and explore the possibility of interim dividends.

Meanwhile, Friday's meeting marks the second of its kind, following its inaugural session held last year. About 70 industry leaders, including SK Networks executives and the company's key investment partners, attended the event.