Naver Corp. has partnered with SoftBank Group to work on an Artificial Intelligence project which will help them offer services beyond the Asian market. Industry insiders reported on Friday that discussions were being held between the two parties regarding their partnership.
The joint venture will have the financial support of SoftBank along with its global network ties. On the other hand, Naver will be investing its human resource and technology into the project. There’s no official announcement yet; however, Naver officials are likely to declare it in the coming weeks as the project goes ahead.
Naver has begun generating funds for the new joint venture from various sources. The company has decided to spin off Naver Clova, also known as Clova Interface Connect. Naver will be drawing funds from some other Japanese partners as well.
According to the sources, Naver officials conducted a meeting with Masayoshi Son. The founder of SoftBank has reportedly shown interest in the project and agreed to support financial and other discussed terms.
SoftBank recently invested in two large projects, including Coupang with $2.5 billion and Yanolja with $1.6 billion. The new joint venture is likely to have funds invested larger than SoftBank’s recent investments.
It will be the second time that the duo will be working together on a tech project. The Global investment officers of Naver and the Founder of SoftBank have supported a similar cooperation project earlier through Z Holdings. This first project involved LINE by Naver and Yahoo by SoftBank and was launched in March this year.
CIC, a cloud virtual assistant subsidiary of Naver, presently operates in various AI projects. Right from its planning and development, the company looks after end-to-end AI solutions for technological competitiveness. The AI technology worked upon by CIC has voice, vision and ML applications.
Introduced in 2017, CIC partners with various AI research universities around the globe, mainly in Korea, Southeast Asia and Europe. With this, the internal lab of CIC has jointly worked on more than sixty research papers on AI innovations in 2021. These papers were showcased at several international conferences.
At present, CIC has a human resource strength of around 700 employees. However, Naver aims to increase it to 5000 personnel by hiring global tech talent from countries like the U.S., India, and Europe. It is projected to give a big push for the new project.
The discussed joint venture will accelerate AI operations in the international market to secure a leading position globally. The Korean market views great potential in AI innovations by Clova CIC, which can contend against tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.