Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea’s top mobile messenger, KakaoTalk, has joined forces with major talent agency YG Entertainment Inc. to tap deeper into the online comic market in Japan, industry sources said Monday.
Although the two firms have not signed official tie-up deals, the collaboration is drawing attention from industry watchers as Naver Corp., South Korea’s top Internet portal operator and Kakao’s rival, is the second-largest stakeholder in YG Entertainment.
According to the sources, Piccoma, Kakao’s online comic platform in Japan, recently started to publish an online comic series, which is titled “Go Blings” and features globally popular South Korean boy band Big Bang.
Piccoma has been staging a massive publicity blitz for the 12-episode comic series, timed to coincide with member Seungri’s first concert tour in Japan in August.
In June this year, the online comic platform used the songs of YG-affiliated boy band Winner and singer ikon as the background music for its two new online comics, known as “webtoon” in South Korea.
“We are cooperating with a range of companies in various ways in an effort to make forays into the Japanese online comic market,” a Kakao official said.
Kakao, which launched Piccoma in 2016, recently invested about 100 billion won ($89 million) in its Japanese subsidiary Kakao Japan.
Naver invested 100 billion won in YG Entertainment last year as part of efforts to enrich its content, emerging as the No. 2 shareholder of the talent agency.
In addition, it has unveiled plans to invest an additional 200 billion won in YG Entertainment and its content business by next year.
Naver’s Japanese mobile messenger arm, LINE, currently operates a webtoon service, called LINE Manga, which has emerged as the industry leader in Japan with a cumulative 19 million downloads since its launch in 2013.
Source: Yonhap News