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​Facebook to help Korean VR, AR startups expand globally

Facebook will cooperate with the South Korean government to help local VR and AR firms expand globally.

Facebook will cooperate with the South Korean government to help mentor promising local virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) companies and expand them globally, the social network giant has said.

Facebook will work together with Korea Innovation Center (KIC) and the Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion (IITP), both managed by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, to find local digital content companies working in VR and AR with global competence and help them meet engineers at Oculus, Facebook's VR subsidiary. Oculus will help mentor R&D and business models.

The startups will also get mentoring from Stanford University in technology and US accelerators in VR and AR.

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The co-project is also a pilot for the Technology Revolution Together initiative by the ministry to help startups expand globally.

The company and the ministry will choose around 10 companies through a public competition. They will be judged by Korean technology and marketing experts.

The IITP said there were 138 candidates companies with the right output, 30 of which have shown interest.

There will then be a demo day in July after the tour and well-scored companies will become a Facebook partner.

The US company said the focus will be on VR and AR, but it will also offer access to its machine learning technology at a later date.

Interest in VR is high in Korea, especially in gaming. Local startup Minkonet last year developed a platform called Swing Ads that will allow advertisers to place 3D ads inside games during live-streaming.