SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Naver Corp., South Korea’s top Internet portal operator, and Kakao Corp., the operator of the country’s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, have an unrivaled presence here but often face criticism that their platforms are limited to the domestic market.
This criticism, however, is becoming increasingly misguided since Naver and Kakao’s platforms are actively exploring new markets overseas, sweeping top spots in major foreign markets – particularly in the area of webtoons, for which South Korea is regarded as one of the genre’s birthplaces.
Naver Webtoon is making forays into the United States., the world’s largest content market.
More commonly known as Line Webtoon in the U.S., the webcomic arm of Naver has already ranked at the top in terms of revenue in Google Play’s webtoon category in the country.
At present, Naver Webtoon has about 10 million monthly active users in North America, and aims to increase this figure up to 14 million by the end of this year.
Starting from “Tower of God,” a hit South Korean webtoon, Naver is also in track to turn other popular webtoons, including “The God of High School” and “Noblesse” into animation.
As for the smash-hit webtoon “The God of High School,” the U.S. economic magazine Forbes recently reported that it has long been popular enough to attract a global readership, including impassioned requests to turn it into an anime.
Kakao is not lagging behind in this race. Piccoma, Kakao’s online comic platform in Japan, ranked first in terms of revenue in the combined webtoon category of the country’s two major app markets last month.
Still, the share of imported webtoons is high. Among the 30,000 webtoons that Piccoma offers, the share of South Korean ones is low at around 1.3 percent, but they account for 35 to 40 percent of total transactions.
In recent days, Piccoma is increasing the share of webtoons it explores in various countries, while striving to create an ecosystem that leads to an increase in the production and consumption of webtoons in their respective markets.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)