SK Telecom cleared for 114.2m yuan purchase of E-eye High Tech

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2008, 12:00am

Mobile-telephone services giant SK Telecom has entered the mainland's growing market for satellite-based navigation products and services with the acquisition of Shenzhen E-eye High Tech.

SK Telecom, the largest of South Korea's three cellular network operators, received mainland government approval this week to buy 65.52 per cent of E-eye High Tech for 114.21 million yuan, a deal the Korean company secured in November last year.

The mainland technology firm, a supplier of global positioning system-based services, software and handsets, will be incorporated as a subsidiary of SK Telecom China Holding.

'The acquisition will pave the way for us to offer advanced telematics technology and expertise to the Chinese market,' SK Telecom China president Lee Suk-hwan said yesterday.

Telematics refers to the use of the existing global positioning system (GPS) - a United States-developed navigation system of about 24 earth-orbiting satellites - with computing and communications technologies in transport logistics, consumer car-navigation systems and mobile telephones.

SK Telecom, which started business on the mainland in 2000 and formed a joint venture with China Unicom in 2004, will offer GPS platforms to large transport and logistics firms, GPS-enabled handsets in stores across the mainland, and GPS-based location services to individual customers.

'We will also continue to seek more diverse business opportunities centred on the internet, media and content,' Mr Lee said.

The Beijing Olympic Games this year, the growing number of car owners, falling prices, improved digital mapping, and deployment of 3G communications networks will combine to heat up the mainland market for GPS-based systems, services and devices over the next four years, according to analyst He Junmei of US-based market intelligence firm ABI Research.

CCID Consulting in Beijing estimated the mainland last year had more than 1,000 GPS network operators - including OnStar, a subsidiary of US carmaker General Motors Corp - that linked more than one million vehicles.

Mainland push

Deal introduces advanced telematics technology to mainland

SK Telecom's 114.21m yuan purchase of Shenzhen E-eye High Tech represents a stake of about: 65.5%