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Technology Featured East Asia

HIKKY’s new ¥500m funding to expand services to local, global markets

Tokyo, Japan – HIKKY, a Japan-based virtual reality startup, has raised another ¥500m (around USD4.3m) in a new series A funding round through a third-party allotment with management consulting company MEDIA DO. Said funding will help the startup amplify its services to the local and global market.

This funding follows the recent ¥6.5b funding round (around USD57m) raised by the startup with the aid of mobile phone operator NTT DOCOMO. In total, HIKKY has raised a total of ¥7b (around USD60.6m) in funding.

The funding will also aid in strengthening HIKKY’s organisational structure and building a new VR consulting service. Their services include development and operation of a Vket Cloud-powered open metaverse, Vket events and Vket Cloud.

Other objectives include service provision and development of the open metaverse, team building for Vket Cloud engine development, improving the development system for Vket events, launching a VR consulting business, and internal team recruitment.

“HIKKY is developing and providing services for the open metaverse using their proprietary VR engine, Vket Cloud, and with the help of many creators and partner companies connected by the Vket business. The open metaverse will also provide a variety of innovative services recognizing the unprecedented value of creativity and communication,” the company said in a press statement.

As part of the funding round, HIKKY and MEDIA DO also entered into a partnership, which entails the two companies creating an official publisher’s space where users can exchange their thoughts and opinions in the metaverse. In this place, users will enjoy meeting other fans of their favourite manga or other content, publishing and exhibiting their fan art, and expanding the possibility of IP collaborations with exhibitors at Vket events.

In addition, the partners will also pursue synergies with MyAnimeList, a global anime and manga communities and database site, which is operated by the MEDIA DO Group.

For Yasushi Fujita, president and CEO at MEDIA DO, they believe that the metaverse, with its diverse communities just as in physical reality, will become an ecosystem with a large area for content distribution as the gap between the metaverse and physical reality disappears.

“We are delighted to partner with HIKKY, organisers of a global event in the metaverse who develop a unique and open VR platform. We empathise with the concept of creating a new ecosystem in an open metaverse, and we take on the challenge of metaverse content distribution in a wide variety of sectors, including e-books. Together, we will deliver new experiences to users and help expand the distribution of all kinds of content,” Fujita said.

Meanwhile, Yasushi Funakoshi, CEO at HIKKY, commented that through leveraging the trust and experience that MEDIA DO has built with many publishers and bookstores together with HIKKY’s know-how, they plan to elevate how users read content in the metaverse.

“We also aim to build a new environment where users interact to share the charm of manga and other content, either with other users or with publishers. I am confident that these initiatives will further expand creator potential,” Funakoshi said.

He added, “Today’s announcement with NTT DOCOMO and MEDIA DO is a first step towards the realisation of other ideas in the works, and we will continue our efforts to expand the metaverse and provide experiences that bridge it with the real world.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

IP Key SEA’s newest campaign a PSA towards use of counterfeit cosmetic, beauty products

Bangkok, Thailand – The Intellectual Property (IP) Key Southeast Asia project, an intellectual property rights (IPR) project in educating consumers, has launched a new public service announcement (PSA)-like campaign to promote consumer awareness against the use of counterfeit cosmetic and beauty products in the region.

The campaign is called #YourHealthIsPriceless, and encourages consumers in the Southeast Asia region to support the current cross-border cooperation on improving intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement by informing other consumers about the downside of buying counterfeit cosmetics and personal care products from illegitimate sources.

“This IP Key SEA campaign aims to continue raising the public’s awareness of this issue, and initiate dialogues on intellectual property rights, including trademark protection,” said Tiago Guerreiro, IP Key SEA project leader.

“Trademarks protect consumers against confusion, deception, and misleading information, help them distinguish genuine products from counterfeit ones, and guarantee the products’ quality. An efficient trademark protection system can prevent people from being exposed to dangerous substances and could save their lives,” added Guerreiro.  

He also commented , “Local authorities in Southeast Asia are currently undertaking efforts to prevent the trafficking of counterfeit beauty products and protect consumers from the harmful effects that these products cause to their faces, skin, and holistic well-being. Through the IP Key SEA project, the EU fully supports this mission throughout the region.”

The campaign, which initially piloted last September this year, is funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Users who have experience in using these counterfeit products may report it online through EUIPO’s social media pages.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s IP office launches IP app for MSMEs, partners with DTI

Manila, Philippines – To ensure local reach of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the Philippines, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines recently partnered up with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in launching ‘IPOPHL Mobiliz’, the office’s foray into mobile application reach.

Said application allows MSMEs to process intellectual property (IP) documents and requirements for IPOPHL within the app, as recent policy has mandated for all MSMEs to conduct their current IP filings online to ensure safety of stakeholders and its employees.

“Given that many of us spend most of our time on mobile, this development will help IPOPHL reach out to a wider audience and provide a convenient and faster way for securing intellectual property assets and further integrate IP in innovative, creative and entrepreneurial processes,” said IPOPHL director General Rowel S. Barba.

With the launch of the IPOPHL Mobiliz, the office has sought a partnership with DTI through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further promote IPs amongst the local MSME scene.

“IPOPHL’s efforts in digitalization will make government transactions more accessible and more convenient for all Filipinos. This will be a great gift to the Filipino people, aligned with the vision of the President to make lives more comfortable for our fellow Filipinos,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon M. Lopez stated.