SEOUL -- South Korean web service giant Naver has scored the company's highest-ever webtoon sales in Japan, the home of manga (Japanese-style comic books) and anime (Japanese-style animated cartoons), by surpassing 100 billion yen ($6.1 billion).
Webcomics, well-known by the name of webtoons, originated in South Korea in the early 2000s. Web service giants Kakao and Naver are the top players in the global market which is growing at an annual average growth rate of some 40 percent to reach $60 billion by 2030.
Digital comic book content tailored for the internet environment has become extremely popular in Asian and European countries over the last decade. Kakao and Naver also operate international platforms where authors from all over the world showcase their works. Users can also enjoy South Korean content translated into different languages.
Naver has two Japanese webtoon subsidiaries under its wings -- Line Manga and ebook Japan -- which have about 20 million monthly active users (MAUs). Naver Webtoon's Japanese subsidiary Line Digital Frontier acquired a 100 percent stake in ebook Japan in March 2022. Line Manga and ebook Japan's combined annual sales in 2021 stood at about 800 billion won ($612.5 million) in 2021.
Naver said that its annual webtoon sales by Line Manga and ebook Japan in 2023 reached the heist-ever mark, surpassing 100 billion yen. The web service giant said that the original webtoons provided through Line Manga drew huge popularity while ebook Japan offered various promotions to its customers.
"We will provide more fun content through Line Manga and ebook Japan and contribute to the growth of Japan's digital cartoon market by incubating domestic artists with promising talents," Line Digital Frontier's Chief Growth Officer Kim Sin-bae said in a statement on December 1.
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