THE Professional Darts Corporation's global expansion will continue in 2018 with the introduction of the PDC Asian Tour.
The growth of steel-tip darts in the region in recent years has included World Series of Darts events in China and Japan and inclusion for players from across the region in the World Championship and World Cup of Darts.
The PDC Asian Tour will feature six weekends of two events in 2018, beginning in Seoul on March 10-11, with a season-ending World Championship Qualifier to find four players for the sport's biggest event.
Further PDC Asian Tour events will be held in Macao, Kobe, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and China mainland throughout the year, giving greater opportunities for Asian players in the steel-tip format.
Each weekend will feature one event per day, with $10,000 in prize money on offer including $3,600 to the winner, while the format will see best of seven leg matches played throughout each event in a step towards the PDC's professional circuit.
"It's fantastic to see the ongoing growth of professional darts worldwide continuing with the introduction of the PDC Asian Tour," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
"The potential for darts across Asia is huge, and this new tour will provide vital experience for players in addition to the exposure they are currently receiving to PDC events."
The new PDC Asian Tour has been backed by Singapore's Paul Lim, who starred recently in the World Championship and has been the region's most successful player.
"It is huge," said Lim. "This tour is going to be the biggest news for Asian darts.
"I think right now, with what is going on in the world of darts, it has fed over to Asia and is creating a little bit of a frenzy.
"Steel-tip darts is catching on now in Asian darts. It has always been more popular with electronic darts, but I think it's going to be exciting for steel-tip to be over in Asia.
"It will create that next level, which is what the PDC is about. It's the biggest thing that ever happened in Asia."
PDC Asian Tour
Tour 1 & 2: March 10-11, Seoul
Tour 3 & 4: April 28-29, Macao
Tour 5 & 6: June 23-24, Kobe
Tour 7 & 8: August 18-19, Kuala Lumpur
Tour 9 & 10: September 22-23, Taipei
Tour 11 & 12: Dates & Venue TBC