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Ava Labs Makes Senior Hires to Accelerate APAC Push

Roi Hirata and Justin Kim will be instrumental in accelerating the growth of Avalanche in the APAC region.

Image: Ava Labs

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Ava Labs, the firm behind the Avalanche (AVAX) blockchain, is ramping up its expansion in the Asia Pacific region with the appointment of new heads of Korea and Japan.

Justin Kim and Roi Hirata have been hired to focus on growing adoption of Avalanche in their respective regions, with a particular emphasis on community and business development, Ava Labs announced in a statement Thursday.

Kim, who was previously an investment banker at Korea Development Bank for over 13 years, said that joining Ava Labs is an exciting new chapter, with so many opportunities on the horizon. Hirata, who founded two startups and worked as a semi-professional e-sports player, said he was honored to join Ava Labs and looked forward to expanding Avalanche’s presence in Japan.

“They are positioned to establish Avalanche as the premier blockchain platform for both individuals and enterprises in South Korea and Japan, which are priority markets for Avalanche. Hiring for these two markets illustrates their importance to our ecosystem" John Nahas, VP of BD at Ava Labs, said in the announcement.

The move comes at a time of rapid momentum for Avalanche across Asia, with leading APAC companies such as Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, and GREE joining its ecosystem in recent months.

Important Web3 Markets

Japan’s blockchain market is one of Asia’s fastest-growing, with the number of on-chain transactions doubling from July 2021 to June 2022 relative to the previous year, Ava Labs noted, citing proprietary research. The country has been trying to drive Web3 adoption and recently established a Web3 policy office under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).

Related: Japan Finance, Tech Firms Collaborate on "Metaverse Economic Zone"

Meanwhile, Korea is one of the world’s biggest blockchain markets and is home to many teams building on Avalanche. The country is also attempting to strengthen its Web3 sector. In February 2022, the country invested US$185 million to develop its metaverse ecosystem, and has continued to build ever since. And earlier this month, Blockhead reported that the Ministry of Science is rolling out a KRW 40 billion (US$30 million) metaverse fund to help startups, and is allocating KRW 27.7 billion (US$21 million) to invest in local services seeking metaverse solutions.

Read more: South Korea Pumps $51M Into Metaverse Projects Amid Web3 Push

According to research by Ava Labs, Avalanche brand recognition in APAC countries grew by 44% in Q4 2022 versus Q3 2022, with particularly strong growth in Japan (93%) and South Korea (139%). The recent flurry of partnerships dovetails with Avalanche’s explosive growth in the region, and the firm is positioning itself as the premier blockchain platform for both individuals and enterprises in South Korea and Japan, which are priority markets for Avalanche.

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