South Korean carrier to invest €647m in China

South Korea's SK Telecom and several sister firms will invest €647 million (US$1 billion) to build a digital content and design center in China, a Reuters report said.

SK Telecom said the facility would help meet an expected surge in demand for digital content as the country adopts high-speed 3G mobile services that allow faster multimedia streaming on handsets.

China has said it will grant three licenses for 3G mobile technology in a radical overhaul of its telecoms industry that will also merge China Unicom and Netcom , two of the sector's four biggest players, to create three full-service telecoms giants, the Reuters report further said.

The South Korean firm has signed an initial agreement with China's government to establish the complex in southeast Beijing along with several other subsidiaries of the SK group, including SK Engineering & Construction.

Work on the complex is expected to start in 2010 and be completed in 2013.

The Reuters report further quoted an SK telecom spokeswoman as saying that 'we are still in the planning stages.'

She added that the $1 billion investment cited was 'just an indication of scale,' with no decisions made as to the final figure or the cost breakdown among members of the investing consortium.

SK Telecom hopes to attract various global companies and Chinese venture firms to the complex, the firm said in a statement, without elaborating.