SK Group fosters mobility business with investments in EV technologies

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 16, 2021, 10:54 Updated : April 16, 2021, 10:54

[Courtesy of SK Group]

SEOUL -- South Korea's third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, revealed a solid strategy to foster an eco-friendly mobility business through preemptive investments in key materials and technologies in the electric vehicle market.

The strategy was visible on April 15 when the group's holding company agreed to buy a controlling 55.5 percent stake in Signet EV, a domestic electric vehicle charger manufacturer, for 293 billion won ($262 million) and invest $60 million in Polestar, a Sino-Swedish automotive brand jointly owned by Volvo Cars and China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

SK Holdings said that it would strengthen the competitiveness of Signet EV, improve the convenience of electric vehicle consumers, and prepare for the self-driving electric vehicle market by applying the group's semiconductor and information and communication capabilities.

The investment in Polestar, which develops high-end electric performance cars and functions as an innovation lab for Volvo Cars, will be made through a fund created by SK Holdings and Geely in March to find innovative mobility companies and promote diverse cooperation in hydrogen fuel, battery materials, semiconductors and autonomous driving technologies.

Polestar would attract a total of 550 million dollars from global investors to strengthen its presence in the global electric vehicle market. The South Korean group vowed to push for cooperation in various fields as a strategic partner with Polestar in the eco-friendly mobility business, saying the Sino-Swedish brand aims to make its foray into South Korea in the second half of 2021.

In its statement, SK Holding listed the history of investment in a number of companies including Grab, a ride-hailing and logistics service in Singapore. A mobility business company spun off from SK Telecom (SKT) has formed a joint venture with Uber Technologies to launch an innovative e-hailing business and explore future mobility services such as flying cars.

Along with real-time traffic information and fast and accurate road guidance services, SKT has tried to hook an infotainment system onto 5G networks for seamless car entertainment including music and video streaming services as well as convenient mobility services including the live high-definition map update, which is an important technology feature for autonomous cars.

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