Korean Government Partners with Facebook to Help VR•AR Startups Go Global

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On April 4th, Facebook agreed to partner with Korea Innovation Center (KIC hereafter) and Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion (IITP hereafter) to help Korean VR•AR startups expand globally. Representatives from each organization gathered at Facebook Korea Business Hub in Gangnam to launch the ‘Digital Contents R&D Global Expansion Program Partnership.’

This newly formed partnership aims to enable Korean VR•AR startups to tap into the global market and become the first mover. It is also a part of ‘TRT: Technology Revolution Together’ project by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning. As part of the program, few selected VR•AR startups with innovative service and technology would have a chance to work with Oculus engineers and receive mentorship in the U.S. This is the first time Oculus promised to a foreign government about mentoring private firms.

Since ‘Facebook Marketing Bootcamp’ in 2015 at Seoul, Daegu, and Ulsan, Facebook has initiated several projects to help Korean startups go global, using Facebook and Instagram. Started in last September, Facebook collaborated with the city of Seoul to launch ‘#ISupportHerBusiness’ campaign to train female entrepreneurs. It also opened ‘Facebook Korea Business Hub’ in November to educate startups and small businesses. In collaboration with KOTRA, ‘#MadeByKorea’, an educational program in regards to export for small businesses, has been regularly held at the Business Hub, and approximately 100 small businesses attend the workshop each week.

The collaborative effort by Facebook, Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, KIC, and IITP will select 10 companies by application process, evaluating their core technology and potential. Once selected, the companies will attend a 10-week training program in Silicon Valley to work with local partners, including Oculus. Upon completion of the program, the participating companies would demonstrate their progress in July, during which Facebook would select a top-performing company to fund investment.

Alex Stamos, the Chief Security officer of Facebook, attended the event and commented, “Facebook and Instagram have been the most efficient platforms to bring smaller companies in Korea to the global stage. Considering that VR industry is deemed as the core of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we hope the hands-on experience of Oculus engineers would help Korean VR•AR firms build a strong foundation in the global market.”

Jae Yoo Choi, the Vice-Minister of Science, ICT, and Future planning, said, “We hope that the new partnership to sponsor global expansion of VR•AR firms will set the stage for other digital content companies to go global with ease in the future. The Korean government will continue to support the global expansion of startups leading the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Jae Il Byun (Member of the Future Planning, Science, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee, The National Assembly of Korea), Yang Hee Choi (Minister, Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future planning), Jae Yoo Choi, (Second Vice-Minister, Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future planning), Sang Hong Lee (President, IITP), Heonsoo Rhee (President, KIC Silicon Valley), and  Alex Stamos (Chief Security Officer, Facebook) attended the event.

– Inspired by Platum

Joyce (Jung Min) is a senior at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, majoring in Global Business. In her free time, she loves to drink coffee, listen to music and explore downtown DC. Joyce can be reached at jmyeo@techforkorea.com.

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