S. Korean comics garner explosive popularity in Thailand: report 

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : February 13, 2024, 16:33 Updated : May 14, 2024, 08:39
Courtesy of Kakao Entertainment
[Courtesy of Kakao Entertainment]

SEOUL -- Recent data released by South Korea's government body charged with governing cultural content showed that South Korean comics were especially popular among Thai consumers. The report showed that South Korean comics accounted for about 47 percent of the total comics consumption in Thailand, the highest rate among the nine countries, which include the United States, France, China, Japan, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

In a survey of 1,516 people who had read or were aware of K-comic content in the past three years conducted by the Korea Creative Content Agency, around 47 percent of respondents from Thailand said they consumed South Korean comics. The UAE secured the second position at 45 percent, followed by Indonesia at 44.7 percent, Viet Nam at 40.9 percent.

South Korea’s web cartoon industry has tried hard to attract Thai consumers. Naver Webtoon, the digital cartoon wing of the country's largest portal site Naver, launched the Thai language-based service called "Line Webtoon" in November 2014. The digital cartoon operator secured 10,000 visitors through a pop-up store featuring "I Am the Most Beautiful Count," a Thai web cartoon available on Line Webtoon. The company's digital cartoon "My ID is Gangnam Beauty" is set to be recreated into a drama series in Thailand. 

Kakao Entertainment, a content and entertainment subsidiary of South Korea's internet giant Kakao, made a foray into the Thai cartoon market in 2021. The company sponsored "Thailand Comic Con," the Southeast Asian country’s major cultural festival featuring comics, anime, and games, in 2022. Kakao Webtoon's digital comic "The Ideal Relationship" was adapted into a Thai TV drama.

Web cartoons, also known as webtoons or webcomics, are digital comic books created to fit into web or mobile platforms. South Korea is the birthplace of webtoons. Popular webtoons are recreated into different content including TV dramas and films such as Kingdom, a Netflix Original drama series that depicted a zombie-infested kingdom. According to market research firm Spherical Insights & Consulting, the global webtoon market is expected to reach $60.1 billion in 2030.

Meanwhile, K-comics had a low consumption rate in Japan at 19.5 percent, the U.S. (35.6 percent), and France (23.7 percent). The Korea Creative Content Agency analyzed that the three nations had a high usage rate of domestic content.
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