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(2nd LD) KT aims for 3.9 tln won in global sales by 2015
By Lee Minji
SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- KT Corp., South Korea's No. 2 mobile carrier and top fixed-line operator, said Thursday it is targeting to post 3.9 trillion won (US$3.4 billion) in annual revenue from global businesses by 2015.

   In order to meet the goal, the company plans to focus on emerging markets by buying stakes or forming strategic partnerships with telecommunications firms in those markets.

   KT also said it will continue to nurture existing business tie-ups and expand their services to application markets and social game platforms. The company will also step up efforts to globally promote products and services of its affiliates.

   "The current situation is making it increasingly difficult to survive without breaking away from the traditional market and diversifying into other business areas. KT has been changing its business portfolio to strive forward," said Kim Hong-jin, the senior executive vice president at KT.

   "Going global is part of the transformation," Kim said in a press conference.

   The move comes as local mobile carriers are searching for new profit sources in a bid to make up for the heavily saturated South Korean mobile market.

   As part of its efforts, KT has been tapping businesses outside the telecom service sector and forging ties with global technology firms.

   In 2011, the company set up joint ventures with Japan's Softbank Telecom Corp. and U.S.-based Cisco Systems Inc. The company also bought controlling stakes in credit card firm BC Card Co. and video search firm Enswers Inc. to expand its horizon to finance and online content.

   If the envisioned goal is accomplished, revenue from global businesses may account for roughly 10 percent of the company's total sales.

   Earlier this year, KT Chairman Lee Suk-chae pledged to transform KT into a global media logistics firm with an annual revenue of 40 trillion won by 2015.

   In 2011, KT posted an annual revenue of 25 trillion won, with global sales accounting for approximately 2 percent of the total.

   Meanwhile, Kim said the company is still pursuing its plan to purchase a 20 percent stake in Telkom SA Limited despite views the deal will fall through due to opposition from the South African government.

   The South African government is the biggest shareholder of Telkom, the country's leading fixed-line operator, with a 40 percent stake.