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Google-backed Anthropic raises $100 mln from South Korea’s SK Telecom

Google-backed Anthropic raises $100 mln from South Korea’s SK Telecom

Seoul, August 14th, 2023 (Reuters) – In a strategic move to bolster its telecommunications-driven AI endeavors, South Korea’s leading telecommunications company, SK Telecom (017670.KS), has announced a significant investment of $100 million in Anthropic, an American artificial intelligence firm. The move aims to fortify SK Telecom’s position in the burgeoning field of AI while fostering the growth of Anthropic, which competes with industry giant OpenAI in the development of foundational AI models.

Anthropic has quickly gained prominence within the AI landscape and is renowned as one of the most well-funded AI startups, securing a substantial $450 million from prominent investors, including Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Spark Capital in a funding round held in May earlier this year. This financial backing has propelled Anthropic’s trajectory and positioned it as a serious contender in the AI sector.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first collaboration between SK Telecom and Anthropic. In May, SK Telecom had made a smaller investment in Anthropic, signaling a growing interest in the AI startup’s potential. This recent announcement underscores a deeper partnership between the two entities. Through this collaboration, SK Telecom and Anthropic are embarking on a joint venture aimed at developing a multilingual, large-scale language model tailored to the global telecommunications landscape. In addition to this, the collaboration envisions the creation of a robust AI platform, consolidating their efforts and expertise to drive innovation in the telecommunications sector.

Details regarding SK Telecom’s earlier investment in May, as well as the extent of its stake in Anthropic, remain undisclosed at this time. The investment signals SK Telecom’s commitment to exploring and harnessing the potential of AI in the realm of telecommunications, thereby staying at the forefront of technological advancements.

The inception of Anthropic dates back to 2021, when former executives from OpenAI joined forces to establish the company. Anthropic’s groundbreaking Claude models have emerged as formidable competitors to OpenAI’s GPT-4, contributing to a dynamic landscape of AI development and innovation.

In a broader context, SK Telecom’s strategic moves in the AI arena extend beyond its collaboration with Anthropic. In July, the company forged an alliance with industry giants Deutsche Telekom, e&, and Singapore Telecommunications. The collective goal of this alliance is to collaboratively pioneer the growth of AI-driven businesses within the telecommunications domain. This ambitious initiative underscores the industry’s recognition of AI’s transformative potential and the importance of cooperative efforts in harnessing its benefits.

As the partnership between SK Telecom and Anthropic unfolds, the global AI and telecommunications landscapes are poised to witness the fruits of their joint endeavors. With substantial investments, visionary collaborations, and the convergence of expertise, the future holds the promise of innovative AI solutions that could reshape the way we communicate and interact on a global scale.


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