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KakaoBank builds own AI lab in Digital Reality’s Seoul data hub

Representatives from Kakaobank and Digital Reality at the opening in Seoul
Representatives from Kakaobank and Digital Reality at the opening in Seoul

While many banks around the world are deploying artificial intelligence-powered tools, with some even building platforms and features in-house, South Korea’s KakaoBank is taking its tech efforts a step further.

The Seoul-based bank has opened its own AI-focussed lab in its home city, following a partnership with Indian tech firm Digital Reality.

Hyun-chul Ahn
Hyun-chul Ahn

At Digital Reality’s ICN10 data centre in Seoul, KakaoBank will develop its own AI features and other tech tools “to accelerate its AI-powered service enhancements, develop personalized content, and fuel research and development for new financial services,” said Hyun-chul Ahn, Chief Research and Development Officer of KakaoBank.

“Through the opening of the AI centre, we have created an environment to strengthen collaboration with external academia, and companies,” Ahn told QA Financial.

He said the bank plans to accelerate various AI-based businesses and research requiring complex operations, such as generative AI and language models.


For KakaoBank, the largest mobile bank in South Korea, the partnership means most of all reliable access to tech solutions to avoid any disruptions.

“Reliability is paramount in the financial services industry, where sudden disruptions in functionality can lead to critical breaks in customer trust,” Ahn explained.

“This data centre features a designed redundant electrical and mechanical infrastructure to ensure seamless, uninterrupted operation,” he pointed out.

“Data is critical for AI applications, which are turbocharged when they can extract insights across data sets. “


Digital Realty, one of the world’s largest global providers of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centres, co-location and interconnection solutions, will make its infrastructure and expertise in Korea available to the bank.

“This will enable us access to a dedicated, high-performance, and resilient environment with optimized cooling, layout, and connectivity options, to support highly effective AI deployments,” Ahn said.

Advanced AI workloads, such as generative AI, demand precision-engineered power and cooling infrastructure capable of supporting high-power computing needs.

The newly opened AI lab in Seoul, South Korea
The newly opened AI lab in Seoul, South Korea

ICN10 is equipped with high-density colocation services that can support up to 70 kilowatts (kW) per rack to address the demands of compute-intensive workloads, said Chris Han, Vice President, Head of Korea, Digital Realty.

“Our data centre utilises air-assisted liquid cooling technologies, ensuring heat dissipation and support for the highest-performance graphics processing unit servers in the industry,” he explained.

Han added he is not surprised it is a Korean bank that sets up its own AI lab.

“Korea is gaining attention as one of the rapidly growing AI markets in Asia Pacific,” he said.

Ahn concluded by stressing that “ICN10’s central location in Seoul’s Digital Media City, coupled with its network-neutral environment, offer KakaoBank an edge by minimizing latency and providing a multitude of connectivity options to existing data centres of domestic financial institutions across the country.”