China Unicom, Telefonica form JV for Chinese scheme

06 Jan 2016

China Unicom and Telefónica have set up a joint venture to provide big data services in China.

The JV, dubbed “Smart Steps Digital Technology Company,” will leverage Unicom’s telecom network and customer base, and Telefónica’s mature technology in big data services such as Smart Steps, according to a joint statement by the firms released Tuesday.

The new company has a 55/45 ownership participation by China Unicom and Telefónica respectively.

The venture will use Telefónica’s Smart Steps solution, launched in 2012, which extracts anonymous customer data from the mobile network and turns it into information that can help retailers and other organizations understand customers’ behavior.

“The product provides enterprises and institutions with tailor-made state-of-the-art big data insights and related services, satisfying the strategic, operational and marketing needs of its customers,” said Telefónica in the statement.

Telefónica said Smart Steps services are expected to be particularly useful for application in Chinese industries such as transportation construction and operations, urban planning, tourism management, public security, financial risk control, real estate and retail analysis, and business consultancy.

The deal offers the company massive potential to tap into the big data market in the world’s second largest economy and to expand its Smart Steps solution outside of its operational footprint, the Spanish telco added.

For Unicom, the venture will help the Chinese telco further improve its big data deployment and enhance its influence in the country’s booming big data market.

Telefónica and China Unicom have worked together on various digital initiatives since 2009. In September 2015, the pair agreed to share their international data center capacity for multinational clients across Europe, The Americas and Asia.

The two have also agreed to jointly procure smartphones for customers in China, Latin America and Europe.

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