Korean platform giants reign over N. American web fiction territory

2021.05.11 17:05:05

[Photo provided by Kakao Entertainment]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Kakao Entertainment]

Korean platform giants have come to dominate web fiction domain in North America with Kakao Corp. taking over U.S.-based web cartoon platform Tapas and web novel platform Radish with a spending over near $1 billion, following Naver Corp. which has completed $600 million acquisition Canada-based storytelling platform Wattpad.

Kakao Entertainment, contents unit of Kakao, said Tuesday that its board of directors approved a plan to acquire North America’s web cartoon platform Tapas and web novel platform Radish for $510 million and $440 million, respectively.

[Photo provided by Kakao Entertainment]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Kakao Entertainment]

Founded in 2012 in San Francisco as North America’s first digital comic app, Tapas posted a five-fold increase in sales in 2020 from the previous year, the company said. Tapas became Kakao Entertainment’s overseas subsidiary in November last year.

Radish is web fiction app based in New York. Its annual sales last year increased 10 times from a year ago thanks to its brisk intellectual property (IP) business.

“The acquisition of Tapas and Radish will give us an opportunity to advance as a global content company,” said Kakao Entertainment CEO Lee Jin-soo. “We have strengthened our competitiveness by combining our IP business capabilities and knowhow with insight of Tapas and Radish.”

Kakao will be competing with its domestic rival Naver that has established a firm foothold as a content service provider with services like Naver Webtoon in the North American market.

이미지 확대
Naver completed its purchase of Canada-based storytelling platform Wattpad for $600 million earlier this month.

Wattpad is the world’s biggest web fiction app with more than 90 million global users. It has 1 billion content created by more than 5 million people, and monthly app usage time reaches 23 billion minutes, according to Naver.

“The consolidation of Wattpad and Naver Webtoon will create a global storytelling giant,” said Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Jun-gu. “We will provide the best experience and insight to global users and creators by combining Wattpad’s numerous stories with Naver Webtoon’s advanced technology and verified paid services.”

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