SEOUL, KOREA – SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) announced today that it will partner with the largest U.S. education company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), which provides educational content to 120 countries across the world, to strengthen domestic smart learning business and kick off global smart learning business.
The two companies signed an agreement on May 31 at SK Telecom’s headquarters in Seoul with the attendance of Bae Joon-Dong, President of Network Operations Business of SK Telecom, and Timothy Cannon, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Alliances of HMH. In addition, Mark Tokola, Deputy Chief of Mission, the Embassy of the United States Seoul Korea, attended the signing ceremony to congratulate and recognize the significance of the alliance between the two leading companies in the education and telecommunications sectors in Korea and the United States.
Through the partnership, the two companies will converge their core capabilities in information communications technology (ICT) and educational content to (1) cooperate in the education content platform business, (2) jointly develop an education platform targeted at the global market, and (3) conduct a range of globally oriented smart education businesses in Korea and overseas markets. Through the alliance, HMH will develop and provide more than one thousand contents, including Destination and Leveled Reader, while SK Telecom will collaborate by developing viewers, apps, billing systems, certification systems, synchronization functions and other platform functions.
The two companies revealed that they will focus on solidifying the domestic smart learning market by adopting HMH’s content in the T Smart Learning platform by October as the first phase of the partnership. Then, the two will further roll out the strategic partnership to develop projects to take the lead in global education business by developing globally oriented joint platforms, take the advantageous position first in target markets, and cooperate for a global digitalized education solutions business.
In particular, through the agreement, HMH will provide SK Telecom with quality English-language content in various subject areas including English (Destination Reading, Skills Tutor Reading, Journeys Reading, Leveled Reader, Grammar Snap, and Earobics), mathematics (Destination Math, Skills Tutor Math, and Go Math), science (Science Fusion), and the like that students in the U.S. actually use. This is expected to strengthen T Smart Learning’s competitiveness in the future.
In addition, the two companies agreed on joint marketing to reinforce their leader position in the smart learning market in Korea and utilize the distribution networks of HMH’s Korean distributor, SK Telecom, as well as its affiliates.
Leveraging HMH’s quality English-language content, SK Telecom plans to elevate the competency of English education in South Korea. The company will secure competitiveness in digital education business both in local and overseas markets. In addition, the company expects to develop this collaborative project as an English-based digital textbook business model and expand its smart learning business in the overseas market by offering a globally oriented service of its T Smart Learning business.
SK Telecom and HMH announced that, based on the agreement, they will offer smart learning in countries with high demand for education, including China and India, and also reach out to African countries and other nations with relatively less educational resources to ensure equitable education opportunities. SK Telecom plans to fully cooperate with HMH for the provision of global content linked with low-priced devices.
Linda K. Zecher, President and CEO of HMH, said, “As one of the leading global educational content providers, HMH is pleased and proud of the agreement to expand smart learning opportunities with SK Telecom, Korea’s largest mobile communications service provider and the leading ICT company in the world.” “While the education business is rapidly evolving and growing with the introduction of smart devices, the collaboration between the two globally competitive companies is expected to bring synergies and successful results,” added Ms. Zecher.
“The alliance with HMH is especially meaningful as we will be able to establish a foundation for next-generation smart education services that consolidates the latest smart technology and leading content,” said Bae Joon-Dong, President of Network Operations Business at SK Telecom. “Together with HMH, we expect to contribute to the enhancement of global education as well as the expansion of smart education business through a wide range of cooperation, such as securing of global education business opportunities, projects related to providing smart learning platforms (B2B, B2C) and offering of solutions,” added Bae.
Mark Tokola, Deputy Chief of Mission, the Embassy of the United States Seoul Korea, emphasized the meaning of this partnership by saying, “The alliance between HMH and SK Telecom represents the first-ever convergence of the U.S.’ and Korea’s core capabilities in education and information communications technology(ICT). Above all, this partnership is focused on combining the best available English-language content with the most innovative and accessible technology. This will help Korean students become productive, competitive citizens of the global economy.”
The two companies started forging cooperative relations at a global education and technology conference, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), in June 2011, and entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for mutual cooperation in December 2011. This was followed by the launch of a joint task force team to have consultations in the two areas of business and technology. The smart learning agreement made on May 31st 2012 is an achievement as a result of this task force team.