Can Korean webtoons be the next global sensation after K-Pop?
In recent years, the webtoon industry has been booming in Korea, with many popular webtoons being adapted into films or television dramas. The KT Economic Management Research Institute has recorded that the Korean webtoon market grew from 420 billion won in 2015, to 880 billion won in 2018, and predict it will reach 1 trillion won in 2020.
Looking deeper, it is clear why webtoons have become so popular in such a short space of time. First of all, the vertical scrolling format is perfect for comfortable viewing on a smartphone. Secondly, if compared to the black-and-white and printed format of Japanese manga, or even of literature in general, the tendency of Korean webtoons to be in full color and the ability for fans and creators to easily interact and share feedback directly online gives them a clear advantage.
Furthermore, the online format has also allowed webtoons to reach far beyond the borders of Korea, with millions of people worldwide also reading them through a growing number of global platforms providing translations in a variety of languages. Just in October of last year, a fan-signing event was held in Jakarta, Indonesia with three big-name Korean webtoon artists which attracted a great number of enthusiastic fans shouting their love for them and their work in clumsy Korean.