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Avalanche's Ava Labs Inks South Korean Partnership in Asia Expansion

Ava Labs is continuing its Asia push by sealing a deal with SK Plane

Image credit: Daniel Bernard

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Ava Labs has partnered with South Korean firm SK Planet as it widens its Asian expansion.

SK Plane is a data management and marketing platform of SK Square, whilst Ava Labs is the main developer behind blockchain project Avalanche.

Ava Labs has reportedly been working with South Korean developers for years to onboard them onto the Avalanche network. The firm even hosted an Avalanche Day last week with Korean developers.

John Nahas, vice president of business development at Ava Labs, said the SK Planet partnership falls in line with this strategy.

“This is our first marquee partnership with a top South Korean enterprise, and the partnership will be a cornerstone of our growth plans in the market,” Nahas said.

SK Planet will launch its Avalanche Subnet, UPTN, to carry SK applications. SK Planet customers and merchants will be able to access web3 functions such as digital collectibles and decentralised communities via the subnet.

Membership reward program OK Cashbag is one such example. Customers can earn points using the OK Cashbag apps and use them to make purchases in shops, restaurants, hotels and more. Nearly half the South Korean population uses the app, according to SK Planet.

“Ava Labs is fully committed to supporting South Korea’s buyers and merchants as they explore the unique benefits of the Avalanche ecosystem,” said Emin Gün Sirer, CEO of Ava Labs, in a statement.

“We see this new partnership between Ava Labs, the Avalanche Foundation, and SK Planet as an incredible opportunity to not only meet South Korea’s enormous appetite for Web3 experiences but expand what’s possible in 21st-century e-commerce.”

Read more: Avalanche, Alibaba Cloud to Boost Infrastructure

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 last 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.

Ava goes East

Ava Labs' SK Planet deal follows the firm's hiring of new heads in Asia last month. 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

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.

Read more: Ava Labs Makes Senior Hires to Accelerate APAC Push

“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.

In February, the New York based company sealed a partnership with China's Tencent Cloud to widen blockchain adoption.

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