Not long after being introduced in India, South Korean pop culture and entertainment have carved a niche and engaged a dedicated audience in India, especially in the form of K-Pop fans. Now, webtoons, a kind of digital comic that originated in South Korea, seem to have gained immense traction among those aged between 15-24, with more and more comic readers turning to them.
This new element of the Korean cultural wave is visible in the number of the monthly active users of Kross Komics, a webtoon app in India that aims to bring new, exciting webtoons for the country's youth. It has crossed 3 million downloads since it commenced service in India in December 2019, and currently has 1.1 million monthly active users.
Catering to the 15-24 age group, Kross Komics' remarkable growth trajectory stems from its mobile-friendly format and 9 genres of engaging content Action, Romance, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Slice of Life, Mystery, and Thriller. A majority of the platform's traffic comes from Tier-I and Tier-II cities with females constituting the highest percentage of readers. The webtoon app has also recently forayed into the mobile gaming space in India.
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Founded in May 2019, Kross Komics is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea with offices in Mumbai, India, and Los Angeles, California, USA. The platform currently offers content in English, Telugu, and Hindi, and plans to add more languages soon.
Asked what is read and liked most on the app, Hyunwoo Thomas Kim, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Kross Komics told IANSlife: "Digital comics with most of the content in the genre 'Romance' but we also have tons of other genre comics like action, fantasy, comedy, horror, thriller etc. Our most read title is 'She Hates Me' with over 20 per cent readership for that title alone. Top five titles on our app are all 'Romance' titles and comprise close to half of the readership."
"The key difference is how/where these two formats were made. Apart from the usual appearance of the comics where Japanese manga, originally made for paper-based reading, is usually black/white and reads horizontally, while Korean webtoons, made specifically for smart phones, read vertically and are full of colour, the main difference lies in the culture from where they originate. Also, Korean webtoons lean slightly more towards romance, fantasy stories and cater to the young females while Japanese manga is wider in terms of genres and might lean slightly more towards the young male population," Kim reveals.
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Kim, who is a South Korean investment banker-turned film producer, adds: "Venturing into the Indian market with Korean content has been one of the most gratifying experiences in my career. We are delighted to announce that Kross Komics has grown exponentially over the past 1.5 years. Kudos to the team as they have been instrumental in charting the platform's growth in India. We believe that compelling stories can work anywhere in the world. We look forward to continuing bringing engaging, new forms of content to our users and achieving our goal of creating a thriving local market."