Key takeaways:

  • Korean-style digital comics draw attention to audiences worldwide, optimizing mobile-friendly design, convenience, and uniqueness.
  • Korean webtoons have gone through changes over the years. Still, they keep up with the market with the standard that local and global readers recognize.
  • The Korean digital comics market is continuously growing, exceeding 1 trillion won in 2021, and is forecasted to reach $26,214 million by 2028. 
  • Webtoons have become increasingly popular in Asian countries, particularly in Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • Webtoons are gathering more young readers. 61% of the webtoon audience in Taiwan is under 24. 
  • Working with a professional comics translator allows creators and producers to make titles available in many languages without affecting the overall quality of the comics.
  • As more people discover the incomparable entertainment brought by Korean digital comics, more creators and companies rely on webtoon translation, localization, and typesetting.

Table of contents

  • The Globalization Processes of Korean Digital Comics
  • Korean Digital Comics Revolution
  • CCCI – Professional Korean Digital Comics Services

It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; if you are an avid fan of comics, exploring all types of comics, genres, and styles is an excellent way to grow. And if you have not explored it yet, Korean-style digital comics have some of the world’s most popular titles!

Naver Webtoon and Kakao Webtoon are only two of the multiple webtoon services that have launched platforms in various countries to allow foreign readers to access the best Korean digital comics. In 2021, more than 40% of the respondents of a survey stated that webtoons were very popular, proving that the South Korean webtoon market is continuously growing, reaching even the international audience.

In this article, let us get a deeper understanding of Korean digital and online comics. How did they start? How big is the global market? And what is its future? Let us find out!

The Globalization Processes of Korean Digital Comics

One of the most well-known Korean webtoonists, Tae-ho Yoon said, “Nobody knows what point we’re at in the history of webtoons right now, but I thought it was time to explore all the possibilities.” This was in 2014 when 15 Korean webtoon creators formed the cooperative group Toonion. Webtoons are still developing in keeping with global and technological conditions, but they have definitely made a significant impact on the Korean comics industry. Webtoons have also contributed to comics globalization, which was previously limited to Japanese manga and American comics.

Korean-style digital comics started in the late 1990s. The public gained access to personal web pages, all thanks to the development of information technologies. Cartoonists and illustrators distributed their character-based cartoon essays through personal web pages or blogs. They generated revenue through book publications and related merchandise.

Note: “Webtoon,” a combination of “web” and “cartoon,” was first used in the Korean comics industry in 2000. However, the term only gained widespread recognition in the country in the mid-2000s. Major Korean web portals competitively started free webtoon services in 2002, generating more traffic and gathering more active users.

Eventually, some successful webtoons were repackaged into television shows and movies. The original stories that webtoons provided the audience built fan bases. Filmmakers and producers optimized the colorful visuals, making webtoons a crucial part of the Korean entertainment industry.

Webtoons developed through time, establishing an industrial standard that the world now recognizes. They have gone through various changes over the decades, but they have unique characteristics recognized domestically and globally.

Webtoons are closely related to manhwa, which are made in Korea. Manhwa from South Korea is available to the public, including English-speaking readers. Now, webtoons are generally animated cartoons published on the Internet. Stories are told in long and vertical with panels arranged for continual scrolling. They are made for digital reading, so they are mostly in full color.

Technology played an essential role in the birth and growth of Korean-style digital comics, but what pushed it to reach a wider audience? Yes, webtoon translation. Apart from Naver and Kakao Webtoons, more platforms have helped readers find their way into their favorite titles. Daum Webtoon was the first webtoon company in the world and the innovator of the format. Tapas is the first webtoon company in the United States, with over 70,000 titles available to the public.

Webtoon Factory is a French company that launched in 2019, with titles available in French and English. with titles available in French and English. Webcomics is also one of the leading webtoon apps in North America. Webtoons have become very popular in other Asian countries, notably India, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia, through webtoon translations.

The Korean digital comics market has expanded, and it is highly likely to continue as more webtoons become more accessible to other countries. A single comics translator can do so much, including starting and continuing a digital comics revolution in Korea and the rest of the world.

Korean Digital Comics Revolution