KT said Monday that it has teamed up with ASO Farm Land of Japan to jointly develop a “smart farming theme park.”
The Bundang-based KT said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is non-binding, with the Japanese agricultural theme park operator for the project.
KT plans to implement its latest smart farming systems, such as tools for the operation of farmland. The Japanese company will provide KT with its management know-how in agricultural theme parks, management manuals, technology and educational support.
Aso Farm Land was opened in 1995 with the theme of “people, nature and vitality.” It is a full-scale health facility accredited by ministries, agencies and related institutions. It is the biggest agricultural theme park in the world.
Financial terms of the details were unknown as the two firms sealed a non-disclosure agreement, KT said.
The smart farming theme park, which will be built in Korea, will have accommodation for tourists, experience zones and a small-sized housing complex.
KT said those who hope to live within the complex will be eligible to be hired as staff members to work at the experience zones or to operate the smart faming projects.
“When you want to grow crops for commercial use in a smart farming site in the complex, then you can use KT-owned technology. You don’t have to be experienced to operate smart faming projects,” company spokesman Kim Young-wan said.
Kim said the two companies will discuss building the experience zones with an eye toward bringing more tourists to the park and helping crop developers find buyers for the sale of agricultural products grown there.
“KT has been in talks with a leading local distribution channel to promote the sale of agricultural products grown in the park,” said the spokesman, adding that the collaboration was also part of the firm’s ongoing initiatives for the “creative economy,” which President Park still believes is the “right way” to lessen the disparity between big corporations and small enterprises.
The spokesman said the park is looking at more partnerships with overseas and local companies to expand its agricultural theme park-related businesses with smart farming techniques.
In a separate statement to The Korea Times, KT said it will try to cut its heavy dependence on the telecom business by reaching out to non-telecom sectors with the company expanding its presence in overseas projects.
The statement said the telecom generated 752 billion won in sales outside the Korean Peninsula in 2015, up 62.2 percent from a previous year.
“With smart farming projects, KT is underway to proceed to next-generation media businesses such as K-live hologram and intelligent transportation system and the build-up of Internet Data Centers and Information Security Control Centers,” the spokesman said.
KT CEO and Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu will fly to Barcelona, Spain, to participate in this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) exhibition.
Hwang will hold a press conference for Korean reporters and respond to questions about the company’s business diversification plans.