The Korea Herald


Plans to bolster webtoon industry lead to jump in shares of webtoon firms

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Jan. 24, 2024 - 19:36

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Culture Minister Yu In-chon speaks during a briefing held in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap) Culture Minister Yu In-chon speaks during a briefing held in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Shares of South Korean webtoon platforms soared Wednesday following the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's announcement a day earlier to aggressively ramp up support for the growth of the nation's webtoon industry.

Shares of Korean webtoon and web novel platform Mr. Blue closed at 2,865 won ($2.14), a 29.93 percent jump from the previous trading day. Shares of Korean webtoon platform KidariStudio closed at 6,510 won, showing a 4.49 percent increase from Tuesday, while shares of D&C Media jumped by 6.88 percent, to trade at 33,400 won.

The jump in share prices comes as the Culture Ministry announced its goals to bolster support for Korea's webtoon industry, following its designation of webtoons as the next prime candidate in continuing the K-content boom overseas.

The Culture Ministry said via a briefing held in Seoul on Tuesday it plans to raise the market value of the nation's cartoon and webtoon industry to 4 trillion won and the export volume of webtoons to $250 million by 2027. As of 2022, Korea's cartoon and webtoon industry was valued at 2.6 trillion won, with an export volume of $107 million, according to the Culture Ministry.

To achieve these goals, the Culture Ministry said it has allocated 3.2 billion won toward supporting the production of Korean webtoon materials with global competitiveness.

The ministry added it has increased the budget for supporting translations of webtoons to one billion won, compared to 600 million won in 2023.

A joint public-private fund of 600 billion won will be raised to support Korean cartoon and webtoon companies' commercialization of their intellectual properties, the ministry said.

The ministry added that a large-scale cartoon and webtoon festival will be launched in Korea this fall, during which it will hold the (tentatively named) "International Cartoon and Webtoon Awards," an awards ceremony recognizing related industry professionals.

"(The Culture Ministry) plans to create a prestigious ceremony and festival, akin to the 'Cannes Film Festival,' in the field of cartoons and webtoons," said a Culture Ministry official via a press release.

Efforts will also be made to strengthen the support for fostering the growth of webtoon specialists.

The Culture Ministry said it will aim to undertake initiatives for nurturing webtoon creators and translators by benchmarking programs from the Korean Academy of Film Arts and the Game Institute. The ministry said through such initiatives it plans to ultimately establish the (tentatively named) "Cartoons and Webtoon Talent Academy," by 2027.

Starting in 2025, the ministry said it will also aim to establish the "Translation Support Center," which will focus on training translators specialized in webtoons.