SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Bloomberg News reported on September 4 that Kakao Japan and Nomura Holdings are engaged in discussions for a possible IPO at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2020, bringing to light the Korean social media giant’s strategies to attract Japanese users.
Though it enjoys wild success at home (43 million users and a market capitalization of 8.3 trillion won), attempts to migrate into Southeast Asia and Japan have not been met with open arms by the existing market leaders Whatsapp and Naver Line.
With its sights set on China down the line, Kakao Japan is stepping up its efforts by making a foray into the world of Japan’s $4 billion manga (comics) industry.
The company unveiled its webtoon (online comics) platform app Piccoma in April with a paltry catalogue of a few dozen webtoons. However, it now boasts over a thousand different selections across a diversity of subject material that ranges from romance to fantasy.
The increased supply of content is matched by the rapid growth in users; the rate of downloads of Piccoma from May through August exceeded that of Naver Line and other Japanese manga providers. Furthermore, the average number of daily users measured in August came in at 900,000, with more than 2 million unique users for the month.
Shying away from hardcore manga fans, Naver decided to go for the casual readers and designed Piccoma’s features accordingly. As a result, instead of requiring the reader to purchase the entire story, stories are broken down and sold by chapters, which after a 24-hour period becomes available to the user free of charge.
Kakao Japan’s success is reflected in statistics that show growth of 28 percent in revenues from digitalized manga. Though paperbound comics still accounted for the majority of all revenues at 67 percent, the statistics showed that overall sales of books and magazines had dropped by 7.4 percent and 12.9 percent respectively.
Employing the Piccoma business model going forward, Kakao Japan CEO Kim Jae Yong expects to bring in monthly revenue of 1 billion yen next year.