Kakao Acquires 2 U.S. Webtoon Apps to Target Global Market | Be Korea-savvy

Kakao Acquires 2 U.S. Webtoon Apps to Target Global Market

Kakao Corp.'s Jeju headquarters (image: Kakao)

Kakao Corp.’s Jeju headquarters (image: Kakao)

SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire)Kakao Entertainment, an entertainment arm of Kakao Corp., said Tuesday it has acquired U.S.-based online comic app Tapas and fiction app Radish for US$510 million and $440 million, respectively.

The subsidiary of Kakao Corp, the operator of South Korea’s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, said the latest deals could help it make further inroads into the North American market and other English-speaking regions.

Kakao Entertainment also said the acquisitions will strengthen its webtoon and other online novel business.

Radish, founded in 2016, is a mobile fiction platform company based in Los Angeles. Its revenue jumped nearly ten times in 2020 from a year earlier, with more than 90 percent from its original series.

Tapas, founded in 2012, is North America’s first webtoon app, with its revenue jumping fivefold on-year in 2020, Kakao said.

Kakao Entertainment produces original stories including webtoons and TV series and has also adapted various popular online novels.

The announcement comes as the country’s internet conglomerate Naver Corp. completed the acquisition of Canadian entertainment platform operator Wattpad Corp. in a stock transaction valued at 653.3 billion won.

The Toronto-based storytelling platform provides stories through its flagship app. It is a community of more than 90 million people globally who spend over 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories.

Naver said the acquisition is aimed at “strengthening its North American business and diversifying global content business.”

The move is expected to align Wattpad with Naver, the parent company of Line Webtoon Corp., a global webtoon operator with an average of more than 70 million monthly active users.


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