Big Data

China Unicom, Telefónica Launch Big Data JV

China Unicom and Telefónica have set up a joint venture in China that will sell big data services to organizations involved in transportation, urban planning, tourism and a range of other industries.

Called Smart Steps Digital Technology Company Limited, the new business will be 55% owned by China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) -- with the rest held by Telefónica -- and make use of the Spanish operator's Smart Steps technology.

Smart Steps is capable of generating a variety of big data insights based on network data and has already been rolled out by Telefónica in parts of Europe and Latin America. (See Telefónica Dynamic Insights Takes Smart Steps.)

In a statement, the operators indicated the new venture would target areas such as transportation construction and operations, urban planning, tourism management, public security, financial risk control, real estate and retail analysis, business consultancy insights and macro statistics.

China Unicom believes the Smart Steps technology will help it to better address rising demand for big data services in China, while Telefónica expects to profit from greater exposure to one of the world's biggest markets.

The joint venture builds on a strategic partnership the two operators have had since 2009. (See Telefonica, China Unicom Deepen Ties and Telefonica, China Unicom Get Closer.)

Telefónica is also a shareholder in China Unicom, although its stake has fallen to just 2.5% from as much as 10% back in 2011. (See Eurobites: Telefónica Looks to Offload China Stake.)

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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