Published on : Sep 04, 2017
It is not new for an Asian messaging app to gain strong popularity in local market but struggle to progress overseas. South Korea’s Kakao Corp. is aspiring to change the pattern, by tactically targeting Japanese love for manga comics. The company is currently negotiating with Nomura for Tokyo listing by the year 2020.
The Kakao app present boasts of 43 million users in South Korea, which has turned its market value to 8.2 trillion won – roughly equating to US$7.3 billion. That being said, from its peak back in August 2014, the app has actually slumped 31% in share prices due to the lack of expansion into International markets. The company faced strong competition from WeChat and Line as it tried to add customers in Southeast Asia and Japan.
Piccoma App Catering Manga Comics to Casual Readers in Smaller Chapters
Now, the company has strategically introduced its Piccoma app to eat into US$4 billion manga market in Japan. The app moves beyond charging per book, which is generally opted by hardcore readers of manga comics, by slicing it into smaller chapters in order to offer cheaper installments to casual readers. This has not only added users to the Kakao App, and consequently revenue, but the strategy is also helping them to develop a platform in an overseas market. Piccoma was first introduced in Japan in April 2016 and now features over 1,000 items.
As per Kim Jaeyong, the CEO of Kakao Japan Corp., the company has never seen such success outside Korea before, and the future looks bright.