Kakao, the operator of Korea’s dominant mobile messenger KakaoTalk, is working with YG Entertainment to expand its online comic content in Japan, according to industry sources on Monday.
Kakao’s online comic platform in Japan, Piccoma, started to publish YG group Big Bang’s online comic series “Go Blings.” All five members of Big Bang were made into characters in the 1 2-episode series.
“Go Blings” was released on July 20 in Korea, US and Japan and will start its promotion in Japan along with Big Bang’s Seungri’s first concert in Japan in August.
Piccoma also used songs of YG-affiliated boy band Winner and singer iKON as background music for the series’ television commercial.
Although Kakao and YG Entertainment do not officially have a memorandum of understanding or a local affiliation contract, the two companies are working together as a collaboration.
The collaboration is drawing attention as YG Entertainment is working with Kakao, which is the rival of YG Entertainment’s second-largest shareholder Naver, Korea’s biggest internet portal operator.
Naver invested 100 billion won ($88.5 million) in YG Entertainment in order to work on expanding their music service platform.
Line, Naver’s mobile messenger app in Japan, operates a “webtoon” or online comic service called Line Manga and has a cumulative 19 million downloads since its launch in 2013.
Kakao launched Piccoma in April 2016, and it has since recorded 8 million downloads in two years and amassed 1.2 million users.
By Chyung Eun-ju (email@example.com