SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) — U.S. tech giant Google will invest more than 50 billion won (US$44.15 million) in Kakao Mobility Corp., the country’s top taxi-hailing company, parent Kakao Corp. said Thursday.

Google will invest in Kakao Mobility by acquiring new shares worth 56.51 billion won, according to a regulatory filing from Kakao.

The deal, which places Kakao Mobility’s total value at 3.35 trillion won, will give Google a 1.69 percent stake in the firm, which operates taxi-hailing service Kakao T and has 28 million users.

Kakao Mobility Corp.’s logo is shown in this undated file image provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Through the investment, the two companies agreed to cooperate in the development of cloud-based artificial intelligence technology and create synergy between Google services and Kakao Mobility’s platform.

The latest announcement comes as Kakao Mobility faces competition from newcomer UT, a joint venture between T Map Mobility Co., a subsidiary of South Korea’s top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co., and U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc.

UT, which launched Thursday, will release a new service in the middle of the year by combining existing taxi-hailing services from Uber and T Map Mobility.

T Map Mobility’s service, T Map Taxi, is the second largest in the country with 200,000 registered drivers and 750,000 monthly active users, according to the company.