- Hyundai-Kia & Microsoft strengthen ties to lead global IT sector for automobiles
- Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman & CEO of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discuss cooperation opportunities
(SEOUL) November 3, 2008 - Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Microsoft Corp. and Korea's Institute for Information Technology Advancement (IITA) opened an IT Center today to jointly develop new IT products and services for automotive application.
Kia Motors Corp. President Mr. Euisun Chung, Microsoft CEO Mr. Steve Ballmer and IITA President Mr. Sung-Ok Lee were joined by other government officials and corporate executives from Hyundai-Kia, Microsoft and other officials from the information technology industry for today's opening, which was held at Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group (HKAG)'s headquarters in Seoul.
"The collaboration between the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group and Microsoft will have a great synergy effect that will significantly raise our businesses' capabilities," said Mr. Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman & CEO of HKAG. "In particular, the IT center, which will be a new platform of cooperation between private companies and the government, will serve as a role model for other industries."
"Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group share a similar vision for the role that information technology will play in connecting people to information, communications, and entertainment while they are in their cars," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft.
"We're excited by the opportunities this new Automotive IT Innovation Center will create for Microsoft, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, and Institute for Information Technology to continue to work together to develop new innovations that will make the time that people spend in their cars more productive and enjoyable than ever before."
Before the opening ceremony, Mr. Ballmer met Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman and CEO of HKAG, to discuss cooperation between the automobile and IT industries. Kia Motors' Mr. Chung hosted the opening ceremony.
The jointly-formed Automotive IT Innovation Center (AIIC) will be located within HKAG's new research facilities in Uiwang City, south of Seoul.
Automotive IT Innovation Center
Today's opening of the AIIC builds on the HKAG and Microsoft joint announcement made in May to cooperate on the development of the next generation of in-car infotainment systems.
The AIIC will focus on uncovering new IT technologies for automobiles by supporting research and development activities of small and medium IT companies based in Korea. HKAG will provide the facilities and cars for technical testing and vehicle application, while Microsoft will assume responsibility for software development and launch into the global market. IITA will extend financial support to eligible small and medium IT enterprises. The Center will support about 20 companies a year for three years, helping the most promising candidates develop into global players in the automotive IT sector.
The technologies developed at AIIC are scheduled for gradual application in Hyundai and Kia cars beginning in the second half of 2010. The IT center will focus on developing technologies such as auto telecommunication, telematics, navigation systems and Location Based Service (LBS), and improving the Human Machine Interface (HMI).
The IITA will provide as much as 200 million won per project in funding for outstanding small- and medium-sized companies, as well as working with the Ministry of Knowledge Economy to provide more policy support.
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group & Microsoft
HKAG and Microsoft entered into a long-term agreement to co-develop the next generation of in-car infotainment systems in May. The two companies agreed to deliver new and innovative solutions based on the Microsoft Auto software platform, bringing the future of in-car technology to Hyundai-Kia drivers worldwide.
The first product, a next-generation infotainment system that provides voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices, will be introduced in the North American market in 2010. It will further apply to Asian and European markets, and expand into multimedia and navigation devices. These easy-to-use infotainment systems will allow consumers to enjoy music in various digital formats.
Also, last month, Kia Motors announced that it is a global sponsor of RoboChamps 2008, Microsoft's virtual-world robotics competition. The sponsorship is designed to encourage the nurturing of professionals specializing in intelligent, autonomous automotive technology as well as further research and interest in auto-IT convergence. For more information on RoboChamps, please visit www.robochamps.com.
** Photo caption: (from left to right) Hyun-Soon Lee, President of HKAG R&D Division; Lee Sung-Ok, President of the Institute for Information Technology Advancement; Dong-Geun Lee, Deputy Minister for the Office of Industries, Ministry of Knowledge Economy; Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Byung-Kee Suh, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Co.; Euisun Chung, President of Kia Motors Corp. Jae-Sung Yoo, President of Microsoft Korea; Emilio Umeoka, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world's premier automotive brands. More than 1.4 million vehicles a year are produced in 14 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 165 countries. Kia today has over 40,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of almost US$17 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia is an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup -- as well as a EUROTOP partner of UEFA. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.