Telefónica enters Chinese big data partnership
Tue 5 Jan 2016
Spanish telecom giant Telefónica has today announced a new venture with Chinese operator China Unicom with the aim of distributing big data services in China.
The initiative, titled ‘Smart Steps Digital Technology Company Limited’, will build on China Unicom’s existing network and customer base in the country and Telefónica’s extensive experience in big data.
The new Chinese project will be managed, with a 55/45 ownership participation, by China Unicom and Telefónica. The venture will use the Madrid-based multinational’s Smart Steps solution, launched in 2012, which uses anonymous data gathered from mobile data to help retailers and other organisations understand punters’ behaviour.
The service will provide insights into demography, location, catchment, time, seasonal trends, frequency, purpose, and travel, among other consumer behaviours. It is expected to be particularly useful for application in Chinese industries such as retail, transport, construction, urban planning, tourism, security, financial risk, real estate and business consultancy.
The Smart Steps venture is an important move for China Unicom, which is looking to improve its big data deployment with a view to competing in this area and increasing its market influence. For Telefónica the deal offers massive potential to tap into big data in the world’s second-largest economy, and to expand its Smart Steps solution outside of its operational territory.
The alliance between the two firms was first established in 2009 when the companies pledged to boost each other’s digital transformation through strategic initiatives. This partnership recently saw both telcos sign an agreement to exchange international data centre capabilities in a step to broaden and expand their cloud cooperation. In September last year, it was outlined that China Unicom customers would be able to use services from Telefónica data centres located in Brazil, the U.S., and Spain, while Telefónica customers would conversely be able to benefit from China Unicom cloud capabilities from data centres across China, in Langfang, Shanghai and Chongqing.