South Korean telecommunications giant SK Telecom (NASDAQ: SKM) has signed a new partnership with leading technology firms to expand its metaverse offering to new markets in Southeast Asia.
SK Telecom sealed the collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with key players in the telecommunication industry, Web3, and blockchain, company officials said.
The MoU sees SK Telecom join forces with Malaysia’s Celcom Digi, Indonesia’s Agate, and Philippines-based Cosmic Technologies to introduce the South Korean firm’s metaverse platform, Ifland, to new users. Ifland was developed as a personalized 3D virtual space for users to share thoughts and socialize with other avatars.
While Ifland has achieved moderate success in South Korea, SK Telecom’s ambitions have seen it eye new regional frontiers. The company confirmed that it has been conducting localization tests for the Southeast Asian market since June, expressing confidence in snagging a larger market share.
Under the MoU, SK Telecom will create global services while its new partners will develop content for its local customers. The company says the new strategy will allow for improved tailor-made content for users as it sets its sights on even grander ambitions of a mainstream global rollout.
In the future, SK Telecom disclosed that it is working on rolling out new language services for Ifland—Indonesian, Malaysian, and Hindi—to bring it one step closer to its MoU objectives.
Currently, the platform supports English, Chinese, Korean, German, and Japanese languages, with several brands, including 7-Eleven, inching toward using Ifland as a virtual storefront.
Ifland is different from the South Korean-based mobile carrier’s first foray into Web3, as the company has considerable experience in the field. In 2020, SK Telecom rolled out a blockchain-powered 5G phone, received approval for a digital wallet, and launched a digital ID service for customers while striking a partnership with on-chain analytics firm CryptoQuant as a partner.
South Korea’s metaverse push
South Korea has emerged as the leading metaverse hub in Southeast Asia, powered by several key factors. The combination of public-private partnerships to fund metaverse activity in South Korea and a tech-savvy population has been described as a victory in the country’s ambitions.
“South Korea stands as the most aggressive and determined government in pushing the development of the metaverse,” said tech journalist Nina Xiang. “Other Asian countries don’t have similar types of metaverse programs in both scale and scope as that of the South Korean government.”
South Korea has splurged over $200 million to fund local metaverse projects and support creators, eyeing an integration into tourism, finance, health, and other key sectors of the economy.
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