Japanese subsidiary of digital comics publisher Webtoon Line digital bordercompleted its acquisition of Japan eBook Initiative, a Japanese e-book service provider. Already the biggest comic book publisher in the world, Webtoon is also expected to be the biggest in Japan.
Line Digital Frontier already operates Japanese webtoon service Line Manga, and after securing a 100% stake in eBook Initiative Japan, it will be incorporated as a subsidiary of Line Digital Frontier.
Founded in 2000, eBook Initiative Japan operates ebookjapan and bookfan, an online service for printed books. eBook Japan is linked via Yahoo! Japan, the country’s largest portal site. . The company hosts more than 800,000 books, of which 95% of sales are manga.
In 2021, Line Manga and eBook Japan had a combined transaction amount of 76.5 billion yen, or $609 million, from over 20 million monthly active users.
The company believes the deal will add the strength and capabilities of the website service to their current use of mobile technology, while allowing the companies to distribute and promote comics and digital content simultaneously on both services.
Webtoon Founder and Global CEO Junkoo Kim said, “Japan is the largest comic book market in the world, and this acquisition will boost our business in the country. By integrating eBook Japan into the Webtoon family, we will be able to expand the digital comic ecosystem for creators and fans across Japan and solidifying Line Manga’s growing influence in Japan’s incredible content industry.”
Webtoon also plans to expand its ecosystem of local creators in Japan, increase its local market footprint, and add a variety of Korean digital comics to Line Manga. The move comes after Webtoon’s recent announcement to form a European company, which will be based in France, expanding its presence in the region.