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Naver, Aramco team up for digital innovation in Middle East

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : March 6, 2024 - 13:54

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Naver and Aramco Digital executives pose for a photo during a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony, in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday. (Naver Cloud) Naver and Aramco Digital executives pose for a photo during a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony, in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday. (Naver Cloud)

Korean internet giant Naver on Wednesday said it has signed a partnership with Aramco Digital, a technology subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, for digital innovation in the Middle East and North Africa.

Under the deal, the two sides agreed to build a sovereign cloud and super app optimized for the Middle East region. They will also join forces to develop sovereign artificial intelligence based on the Arabic language model.

“Aramco Digital is the best partner to implement Naver's cutting-edge technology portfolio in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East,” said Chae Seon-ju, president of ESG and external policy at Naver.

“We hope that Naver's technology can be actively expanded to other regions based on the successful digital innovation cases that will be created with Aramco Digital.”

Naver plans to build an AI model optimized for local culture and language there with its large language model technology and provide various solutions based on it.

The Korean company develops and operates LLMs independently from the preliminary learning stage. It is the only company, excluding Big Tech firms in the US and China, that can propose optimization technology, infrastructure preparation and solutions all together for the efficient operation of high-cost LLMs, the company said.

Additionally, the two companies will team up to construct smart buildings and smart cities by utilizing Naver’s advanced technologies, including cloud, robotics and digital twins.

Meanwhile, Naver was invited to participate in the Leading Edge Arab Platforms exhibition, also referred to as the Saudi Arabian version of the CES, the world's largest tech show, by Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Minister Abdullah Alswaha.

On the second day of the exhibition, Naver Labs CEO Seok Sang-ok delivered a keynote speech on “Tech Convergence for Future Cities" and shared the company's technological advancement in AI, robotics, autonomous driving, cloud, digital twin and extended reality, while providing a blueprint of future smart cities enabled by such technological prowess.