Kakao enters content business in China with 20 webtoons

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Kakao enters content business in China with 20 webtoons


A screen capture of Tencent’s webtoon platform which offers Kakao’s 20 online comics, 10 of which are from Kakao Page and 10 from Daum Webtoon. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Kakao launched 20 online comics Tuesday for the China market, its first foray into the burgeoning content market.

Ten of the online comics, or webtoons, are from Daum Webtoon and the other 10 are from Kakao Page, a content platform. Six of them became available on both mobile devices and websites belonging to Tencent’s webtoons site ac.qq.com over the last weekend and the remaining 14 will be released over time. The titles include “Girl Hermit,” “Aquaman,” “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim” and “In Summer that Year, I…”

Kakao’s content subsidiary Podotree and Tencent’s webtoon arm sealed the deal. “The entry of 20 webtoons into China means Korea’s intellectual property has been highly appreciated,” said Lee Jin-soo, CEO of Podotree. “We will pioneer the paid content market on the back of our partnership with Tencent.”

The success of “It’s Said She was Born as Daughter of the King,” a webtoon by Kakao Page, helped seal the deal, Kakao said. Forty days after its pilot launch on the Tencent webtoon platform last July, the title had been viewed 100 million times and remains in the top ranks of paid webtoons.

Established in 2012, Tencent’s webtoon service is the biggest animation and webtoon service in China with over 90 million active monthly users. There are 300 webtoons that have been viewed by 100 million users, and there are 30 with over 1 billion views. Contributing authors number 50,000 and those under exclusive contract number 600.

In markets other than China, Kakao plans to use Piccoma, a mobile content platform run by its Japanese operation Kakao Japan, and Tapas, a webtoon and web novel platform based in Silicon Valley, to provide webtoons and novels to audience in Japan and the United States.

Kakao’s local rival Naver said last year it would establish a Chinese subsidiary in Beijing tentatively named Naver Webtoon China by the first half of this year as an increasing number of Chinese youngsters enjoy made-in-Korea webtoons.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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