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Webtoons

Kakao webtoon platform Piccoma becomes No.1 grossing app worldwide

By Nov 09, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Kakao Corp., South Korea's platform giant, announced on Nov. 9 that its webtoon (digital comics) platform Piccoma has become the No. 1 grossing mobile application worldwide.

According to mobile data platform App Annie, Piccoma was the highest-grossing app for September in the comics and novels app category based on aggregated data from App Store and Google Play. In the non-game apps category, Piccoma came in seventh place, higher than streaming app Netflix and music platform Pandora.

Piccoma is a digital comics platform run by Kakao Japan, a subsidiary of Kakao Corp. It began Japan-based services in 2016 and became the country's top-grossing non-game app in July of this year, outperforming Naver's comics platform LINE Manga for the first time.

"We achieved all of this just four years after our foray into Japan. We are steadily solidifying our position as a leading comics platform not just in Japan, but globally," said a Kakao official.

Kakao webtoon platform Piccoma becomes No.1 grossing app worldwide

In the third quarter of this year, Piccoma posted around 130 billion won ($116.5 million) in platform transactions, a 247% jump from the year-earlier period. For the first nine months of the year, it posted around 270 billion won ($242 million) in transactions, a 168% increase from the year-earlier period.

In terms of revenue, the company posted 22.5 billion won in 2017, 62.3 billion won in 2018 and 143.9 billion won in 2019.

Piccoma's growth can be attributed to its strong performance in Japan, the world's comic kingdom, which boasts a comics market valued at a staggering 5.7 trillion won. However, digital comics accounts for only half of the total market, in which Piccoma has garnered great success with webtoon content at its forefront.

'Solo Leveling,' a Korean webtoon that hit No. 1 on Piccoma in 2019
'Solo Leveling,' a Korean webtoon that hit No. 1 on Piccoma in 2019

Webtoon has been the driving force behind Piccoma as its webtoon transactions posted 58 billion won in the third quarter, up 680% from the same period last year.

"Our service has targeted not only traditional comic fans, but the overall snack culture content user base," said Jae-yong Kim, the head of Kakao Japan. "We aim to become a leading global comics platform."

Korean webtoons have disrupted the existing comics market by offering a new drawing technique and storytelling method customized for mobile viewing. Readers can comfortably view content simply by scrolling down, often accompanied by animation effects along with background music to enhance the level of immersion.

Write to Min-ki Koo at kook@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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