Verizon hopes the channel will be the key to establishing a stronger presence in the Asia-Pacific region. This week, the company announced a new partner program tailored for companies based in the area.

Verizon announced the program March 22, saying it will "allow the company to serve a broader range of clients." The offering centers on Verizon's networking, managed security, cloud and support services and products.

The move is an expansion of the existing Verizon Partner Program, which launched in the U.S. and currently counts about 1,300 companies, according to Verizon.

For now, Verizon's channel play in Asia-Pacific will be restricted to healthcare, financial services, hospitality, manufacturing and BPO companies in Japan, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. That makes it less extensive than an all-out jump into the channel in this region -- and the initiative notably excludes mainland China -- but for Verizon, a company that has so far tended to focus on western countries, the move is significant.

The partner program announcement follows the expansion of Verizon's cloud products in the Asia-Pacific region earlier this month. The company clearly sees this region as a center of growth going forward.

"The rules of engagement have changed," said Francis Yip, Verizon’s group vice president of Asia-Pacific. "The new streamlined VPP has now been introduced in the Asia-Pacific region and we're seeing strong interest from the partner community. Compellingly, companies can decide how they want to work with us whether on specific solution areas, vertical markets or targeted geographies. While we're not putting a cap on the number of partners who work with us, our chosen partners must be as passionate as we are about adding value to our customers as they evolve their business in the digital world."

So far, Verizon has not announced Asia-Pacific partners that will be joining its expanded channel program. But at least one Australian company, DX Solutions, has expressed interest. Peter Yialas, managing director of the company, said, "We view this as an opportunity to work with Verizon, a world-class technology leader, to expand our customer offerings. The combination of Verizon's product capabilities and our market leading reputation, products and services, means we are able to offer a very compelling value proposition."