KT and LG Uplus spent a combined KRW26 billion ($23.1 million) to acquire stakes in SK Telecom’s (SKT) ONEStore, delivering a significant boost to the South Korean app store.

ONEStore CEO Lee Jae-hwan said the investments lay the foundation for it to “further accelerate” the business, with the aim of establishing it “as a marketplace”.

KT acquired a 3.1 per cent stake for KRW21 billion, and LG Uplus a 0.7 per cent stake for KRW5 billion. SKT owns 50.1 per cent and local technology giant Naver 26.3 per cent, with the remainder held by financial investors.

In a translated statement, SKT said ONEStore reported a 34.4 per cent increase in transaction value in 2020 and posted a net profit for the first time since its launch in 2016. It claimed an 18.3 per cent share of the domestic app market as of August 2020, compared with 71.2 per cent for Google Play and 10.5 per cent for Apple’s App Store.

The local app platform is planning an IPO this year, which would make it the first SKT subsidiary to go public.