Kakao Entertainment, the content providing subsidiary of South Korea’s dominant chat platform operator Kakao, will release its digital comic services in Thailand and Taiwan, where its archrival Naver is already a dominant platform player with various services including Naver Webtoon.
Kakao Entertainment said the company has decided to enter Thailand and Taiwan within the first half to reach a wider global market. It will launch 70 digital comics in Thailand and increase the number to up to 200 by the end of the year.
The platform market in Thailand is dominated by another Korean internet giant Naver with its messenger app Line, No.1 chat platform in Japan. Based on more than 47 million monthly users, Line operates e-comics platform Line Webtoon and banking platform Line BK in the Southeast Asian country. Its delivery app Line Man Wongnai will be made available in 77 provinces across the country within this year.
The two South Korean tech giants are fiercely competing in global intellectual property markets. On top of the rivalry between Line Webtoon and Kakao Piccoma in Japan, they are also engaged in a turf war in the North American market with Kakao planning to take over the region’s web cartoon platform Tapas Media to challenge Naver that acquired the world’s biggest web novel platform Wattpad.
“The competition between Kakao and Naver in the global platform market holds a semblance to the rivalry between Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics that served to elevate Korea’s reputation in the global consumer electronics market in the past,” said an official from Kakao.
Korean platform operators have been eyeing the Southeast Asian market, one of the most dynamic markets in the world. The market has 667.3 million population, bigger than the Central and South American market. The region has relatively young population and the number of middle class is expected to reach 200 million by 2025.
By Lee Dong-in and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]