* Uber to invest more than $150 mln in JV, direct investment
* Uber forced to stop private car ride-hailing in S.Korea in
* Local player Kakao dominates S.Korea taxi-hailing market
* JV with SK Telecom's mobility biz to launch co-branded
SEOUL, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Uber Technologies said on
Friday it will invest over $150 million in a joint venture and
partnership with South Korea's SK Telecom Co Ltd,
which is proposing to split off its mobility business.
The move is Uber's latest attempt to expand in a market
where it has faced tough competition, opposition from taxi
drivers and regulations which forced it to stop using private
cars for its ride-hailing service in 2015.
The U.S. ride-hailing company currently offers premium
taxi-hailing and registered taxi-hailing services in South
Korea, a market dominated by local player Kakao's
The new joint venture would "create opportunities in the
taxi-hailing market in Korea and explore new areas, including
future mobility services," the companies said in a joint
Under the plan, SK Telecom would split off its mobility
services including satellite navigation and taxi-hailing into a
new company called T Map Mobility, which Uber would then back
with a direct investment of $50 million and another $100 million
in a joint venture structure, the companies said.
Subject to regulatory approval, the joint venture is
expected to begin operations in the first half of 2021, the
The joint venture would combine T Map Mobility's "network of
drivers and mapping technology with Uber's ride-hailing
technology and global operations expertise," it added.
It is expected to launch a co-branded platform, which riders
and drivers of T Map Taxi will be encouraged to join after the
launch. T Map Taxi is SK Telecom's taxi-hailing platform, the
second-largest in Korea after Kakao.
Uber will own 51% of the joint venture, while SK Telecom
will hold the remaining 49%.
SKT said it expected T Map Mobility, valued at about 1
trillion won ($873.3 million), to grow into a company worth 4.5
trillion won by 2025.
SK Telecom shareholders would vote on the plan at a general
meeting on Nov. 26.
($1 = 1,145.0400 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen