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S. Korean webtoon market jumps to top W1tr in sales in 2020

This image provided by Lezhin Studio shows the webtoon
This image provided by Lezhin Studio shows the webtoon "D.P: Dog Days." (Lezhin Studio)
The South Korean webtoon industry saw its combined sales top 1 trillion won ($843.6 million) for the first time last year, government data showed Friday.

The total sales of the local web-based comic market amounted to 1.05 trillion won in 2020, up 64.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data by the culture ministry and the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA).

It is the first time that the annual industrywide sales surpassed the 1 trillion-won threshold since 2017, when the ministry started to compile the data on comics being read on smartphones.

Webtoon platforms posted 519.1 billion won in sales last year, while production agencies earned 534.7 billion won.

The number of newly created web comics fell 17.2 percent on-year to 2,617 last year, with 7,407 authors.

Meanwhile, a separate KOCCA survey on 710 webtoon writers showed that the yearly income of a cartoonist who has published at least one digital work in the past year, was an average 56.68 million won in 2021, up 8.28 million won from a year ago.

Among them, 66.5 percent are female and 33.5 percent are male, while those in their 20s and 30s accounted for a combined 83.9 percent.

The South Korean webtoon industry has been thriving recently as it has carved out a unique role as a source of fresh ideas for producers and screenwriters on the South Korean entertainment scene.

Many smash-hit films and TV series like the popular Netflix originals "Hellbound" and "D.P." were adapted from renowned web-based comics. (Yonhap)
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