Korean Webtoons Receive Much Global Readers After Squid Game and Kpop.

According to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower’s predictions, which don’t include spending on mobile commerce like Amazon purchases and food delivery, Piccoma, a digital manga subscription service, generated more money in 2021 than any other non-gaming app outside TikTok and YouTube.

In October, less than six years after its introduction in 2016, the app topped $1 billion in aggregate transactions, a milestone accomplished by only 15 non-gaming applications globally. The popularity of Piccoma is all the more remarkable given that the service is only offered in Japan. However, South Korea, the manhwa is the cultural superpower behind international hits like “Squid Game” and “Parasite,” is where the world’s most popular manga app is really from. 

The maker of the most widely used messaging app in South Korea is Kakao Piccoma, Picoma is the best webtoons platform vs Manhua Platform of China. a division of that nation’s internet giant Kakao. Japan has by far the largest manga market in the world, but South Korean businesses are driving the sector’s digital development.

According to a white paper published by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) in 2021, South Korean IT firms like Kakao and Naver had more than 70% of the market for Japanese digital manga with 1 billion $ but Manhua of China Mainland about 26 billion $. Despite the continued popularity of paper manga comics, digital sales overtook print sales as the market’s largest segment last year, and the KOCCA predicts that they will increase by more than 80% by 2025.

Sales in the industry actually fell amid widespread unemployment as a result of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. In order to survive, some publishers produced copies of Japanese comics, while others had to close their doors. 

Digitalized comic books and original webcomics have been freely available on South Korean Internet sites since the early 2000s. Webtoons were able to grow their following beyond those who read comic books typically thanks to search engines’ support of the medium, and they will continue to develop in the approaching mobile age. Webtoons developed a distinctive, vertical scroll-to-read format since the majority of Internet users saw comics on their cellphones.

The Korea Webtoon Industry Association’s president, Seo Bum-gang, told Al Jazeera that reading required scrolling, which created a sense of movement similar to the passage of time or a person’s gaze.

The South Korean film and television industries have been actively transforming webtoons since the late 2000s. Webtoons have served as a key source of inspiration for the Korean entertainment industry ever since the office drama series Misaeng achieved such astronomical success in 2014.

South Korean comics are becoming popular abroad because of the global success of webtoon-inspired TV programs. Following the Japanese success of the TV show Itaewon Class, Piccoma was able to surpass Naver’s Line Manga, a competitor app, thanks to the success of the webtoon on which it was based.

Unrealized Capacity

According to the KOCCA, the South Korean webtoon market expanded by more than 64% in 2020 over 2019 and surpassed the one trillion won ($840m) mark. However, webtoons are increasingly going outside for success, much like South Korea’s other creative sectors.

Approximately 65 percent of C&C Revolution’s current sales, according to Lee, originate from foreign markets. Revenues from outside are rising and are anticipated to keep growing, despite the industry average is less than 30%, the KOCCA reported. The worldwide comics business will be valued at $11 billion in 2020, which is roughly one-fourth as much as the pre-pandemic value of the music and cinema industries.

Webtoons, according to some industry professionals, have the potential to go much beyond what the market for conventional comics has already accomplished.