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Korea's webtoon market experiences exponential growth over past 10 years Updated: 2014-08-14 08:15:10 KST

Korea's webtoon market experiences exponential growth over past 10 years

Thirty-five-year old artist Kim Poong publishes a weekly webtoon on a major portal website in Korea.
He often accesses his own work through his smartphone and checks the responses of viewers, something that keeps him connected to an industry he's very much invested in.


"I see a great potential in the industry. Nowadays, public perception about webtoons has improved greatly, and we see many cases of webtoons being adapted into different genres of art or becoming the source of other products. I see the future of webtoons in a rosy light."

Since debuting in 2003, Kim has witnessed the growth of the webtoon industry in Korea.


"Back then, we didn't even have the word 'webtoon.' We called them internet cartoons? It was an infancy period."

The history of web cartoons in Korea dates back about 10 years now.
Back in late 1990s and early 2000s, so-called internet cartoons were mainly composed of personal anecdotes or were short comic strips.
The webtoon market began growing in 2003, when Daum, a major Korean portal website, started to provide webtoon portal services.
Naver, another major portal site, jumped in in 2005, triggering a webtoon boom here.

Webtoons then began delving into all sort of genres like action and thrillers, and began to involve more serious, large-scale plots.
By 2010, webtoons became a source of story banks for other genres.
Nearly 50 webtoons produced in 2012 and some 40 webtoons produced last year have been adapted into films, dramas and even character licensing contracts.
As of 2014, webtoons began providing translated contents to the global market, through a diverse set of platforms, such as Naver's global instant messenger program Line, to meet a wider audience outside of Korea.
PARK Ji-won, Arirang News.
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