NAVER Corporation (CEO Choi Soo-yeon) announced that NAVER, NAVER LABS, NAVER Cloud signed an MOU with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing (MOMRAH) of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia (MISA), to cooperate on the Saudi Arabian government’s national digital transformation initiative using Team NAVER’s advanced technologies.
The signing ceremony was held on the 30th (local time) at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The ceremony was attended by Minister Majed Al Hogail, Vice Minister Musaed Alotaibi of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing of Saudi Arabia, and Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Vice Minister Fahad Alnaeem of the Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia together with the delegation from NAVER including the President of NAVER’s ESG and External Policy Chae Seon-ju, NAVER LABS CEO Seok Sang-ok, and Executive Director of NAVER Cloud Han Sang-young.
The signing of this MOU with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia is a significant milestone which demonstrates that NAVER’s sustained investment in advanced technologies led to a tangible result.
In 2013, NAVER established “GAK Chuncheon”, the very first data center built by a Korean internet company, as part of its commitment to protecting user data. “Gak Chuncheon” has under its belt at least 10 years of stable operational experience without any disruption, accidents, or disasters. Such experience and expertise became the foundation for NAVER’s ongoing investment in R&D for advanced technologies including robotics, autonomous driving, and digital twin even after NAVER LABS, NAVER’s R&D subsidiary, was founded in 2017.
In addition to Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project aimed at building the world’s largest smart city, the country is making diverse efforts toward digital transformation. NAVER, the Korea’s leading Internet company, has been selected as the global partner of MOMRAH and MISA, out of all the competitive global tech companies for its state-of-the-art technologies including AI, robotics, cloud, autonomous driving, and digital twin.
With the MOU, Team NAVER, MOMRAH and MISA will be working together comprehensively across all domains for Saudi Arabia’s ICT project for their nationwide digital transformation. Potential projects will utilize Team NAVER’s robotics and AI-enabled digital twin solution for Saudi Arabia’s city-scale simulations and city monitoring, or developing MOMRAH’s “super-app (tentative)” for the country with the use of hyperscale AI and cloud.
“The technical prowess of Team NAVER is gaining recognition in the global market after years of sustained investment in cutting-edge technologies, and we will leverage our expertise and collaborate closely to support the Saudi government’s national digital transformation initiative,” said Chae Seon-ju, President of NAVER’s ESG and External Policy. “Taking this case as a significant opportunity, where collaboration began in earnest following our participation in the ‘One Team Korea‘, we will further strengthen our efforts to pioneer the global market and stay committed to establishing NAVER as a leading global tech company.”
In November of last year, NAVER became part of the “One Team Korea” consortium, which aimed to secure Saudi Arabian projects under the auspices of Minister Won Hee-ryong of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and had a meeting with Minister Al Hogail. Since then, NAVER has been in ongoing discussions with Saudi Arabia. In the same month, Minister Al Hogail visited 1784, NAVER’s “Tech Convergence Building”, where he had the opportunity to witness the company’s technological prowess and mobile service planning and development capabilities firsthand. During his visit, additional discussions were held on how to utilize digital technology in housing and building management, as well as other aspects of urban planning such as transportation and public safety. Following Minister Al Hogail’s visit, Saudi Arabia’s interest in NAVER continues as three Saudi Arabian government agencies related to AI and data also visited the company in February of this year.