SK Telecom Invests $10 Million in AI Search Engine Perplexity

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South Korean telecommunications giant SK Telecom announced a $10 million investment in the U.S.-based generative AI search engine startup, Perplexity. The partnership aims to enhance Perplexity’s AI-powered search platform, positioning it as a potential competitor to Google in the search engine market.

Founded in 2022, Perplexity AI differentiates itself by delivering direct answers from real-time internet searches, rather than relying on pre-trained datasets. This approach ensures that its responses are more current. The platform handles over 230 million search requests monthly.

The collaboration between SK Telecom and Perplexity began with a strategic agreement signed at MWC Barcelona in February. Under this agreement, SK Telecom’s subscribers gain free access to the premium version of Perplexity. In turn, SK Telecom plans to integrate Perplexity’s models to develop AI personal assistant products featuring real-time information access.

As part of their joint efforts, SK Telecom will provide Perplexity with Korean-language data to improve its language model. Dmitry Shevelenko, Chief Business Officer at Perplexity, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, emphasizing their shared vision of enhancing AI services.

Lee Jae-shin, Vice President of AI Growth Strategy at SK Telecom, highlighted the investment as a strategic move to bolster the company’s global competitiveness in the AI search market. He noted that the cooperation would enhance their AI personal assistant services both domestically and internationally.

Additionally, Perplexity will invest in SK Telecom’s Global AI Platform Corporation, established last year. SK Telecom has been actively pursuing leadership in AI, with CFO Kim Jin Won underscoring the company’s commitment to transforming into an AI-driven enterprise. This transformation includes various initiatives and strategic investments, such as the formation of the Global Telco Alliance with e&, Deutsche Telecom, and Singtel to explore AI applications in telecommunications.

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