Kakao unit secures stake in U.S. web comics company Tapas

By Park Sae-jin Posted : September 25, 2020, 10:22 Updated : September 25, 2020, 10:22

[Courtesy of Kakao Page]

SEOUL -- In a bid to secure a bridgehead in the American webcomics market, Kakao Page, a web media content wing of South Korean web service giant Kakao, secured a 21.68 percent stake in Tapas Media that offers a variety of short and long-form English-language media content including webtoons.

Web cartoons, widely known as webtoons or webcomics, are digital comic books created to fit into web or mobile platforms. South Korea is the birthplace of webtoons, with its webtoon market valued at one trillion won ($855 million).

Kakao Page said at a conference call on September 24 that it has acquired Tapas Media shares held by its parent company for 6.03 billion won ($5.1 million). "The purchase of shares is designed to strengthen the partnership between Kakao Page and Tapas Media so that we can lay the foundation stone for South Korean webtoons in the U.S. market," a Kakao Page official said.

Tapas describes itself as the "YouTube of Comics." Kakao Page has an online and mobile web media content platform that offers content in the form of webtoons, web novels, web dramas and films.

South Korean webtoon companies have tried to expand their presence abroad, especially in the American market. Lezhin Comics, an online and mobile webtoon platform, provides the translated version of web cartoons through a freemium service that requires paid subscriptions for exclusive premium content. Lezhin Entertainment, the parent company of Lezhin Comics, has launched a drama and film-making wing to create web dramas and films based on popular webtoons.
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