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M360 APAC makes Seoul debut to explore digital-first future

Sept. 7, 2023 - 15:31 By Jie Ye-eun
GSMA Director General Mats Granryd delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the M360 APAC event in Seoul, Thursday. (GSMA)

The Mobile 360 APAC, the Asia-Pacific leg of the conference organized by the UK-based mobile industry nonprofit GSMA, kicked off the two-day event in Seoul on Thursday, under the theme of “leading a digital-first future.” It marked the first time the annual event took place in South Korea, as Singapore had been the key destination for the APAC conference.

Some 1,000 government and mobile industry leaders from more than 50 countries gathered to share insights on the future of key technologies -- from artificial intelligence, trust and security to digital inclusion -- and the impact of digital technologies and services on the economies of Asia-Pacific regions.

“Seoul is characterized by diverse markets and technology advancements, and is a rich tapestry of innovation and digital societies. Korea shines as a leading digital nation. Harnessing digital technologies fuel economic growth, enhance governance and foster groundbreaking innovation,” GSMA APAC head Julian Gorman said in the opening ceremony.

Defining innovation as “solving real problems and finding ways to make the world a better place,” GSMA Director General Mats Granyrd highlighted South Korea’s tech giant Samsung and telecommunications giant KT Corp. as innovative companies. Samsung has become the world’s No. 1 electronic manufacturer, while KT has invested over $5 billion in AI technologies, Granyrd noted.

“This year we celebrated 50 years since the first mobile phone call was made. Today, our networks cover 95 percent of the world's population, serving 5.4 billion unique customers. … Our industry is poised for another strategic shift towards future-facing tech communications companies where everyone and everything is connected through our platforms," he said in his keynote speech.

KT Corp.'s new CEO, Kim Young-shub, delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the M360 APAC event in Seoul, Thursday. (KT Corp.)

As KT is the host sponsor of the global event, the wireless carrier’s new CEO Kim Young-shub took the stage as a keynote speaker, in his first public appearance since he took office last week. The KT chief delivered a speech on the “shift to the telecomunications-led digital paradigm” and vowed to transform the firm into a “digital innovation partner.”

“While pivoting to become a digital native player, KT has identified key domains including cloud computing, AI contact centers, security, future transportation and mobility. We are pushing forward this expansion by targeting digital sectors where telecommunications can be at the heart of this game-changing journey,” Kim said.

To face the inevitable competition against big tech firms and become a leader in the digital era, Kim urged inter-telecommunications cooperation in the network and cloud fields, as well as alliances with startups for a stronger strategic approach. He added that the future purpose of telecommunications will be defined by “actively delivering digital services to enhance human life, based on a spirit of openness and collaboration.”

Other major keynote speakers at this year’s M360 APAC include Park Yun-kyu, second vice minister of South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT; Kim Woo-june, head of networks business at Samsung Electronics; China Mobile Chairman Yang Jie; Globe Group President Ernest Cu; and Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO of telecommunications business at Axiata Group.