Why is ‘Japanese webtoon’ now ‘animated in China’? The future that China’s major video distribution service Bilibili envisions

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Bilibili, a compelling video distribution service in China, is also involved in live distribution, animation production and production, game business, and manga/webtoon, and now has a Japanese subsidiary with 100 people in 4 divisions.

Currently, I am working on a new business, which is to develop new webtoons made in Japan and South Korea for secondary development in China (especially animation development).

For webtoons made in Japan to be “selling,” it is “necessary.” Since 2010, he has been distributing Japanese content in Greater China. Since 2015, he has been distributing Japanese content and importing overseas content to Bilibili in China, Kakao Page in Korea, and six major electronic bookstores in North America at Media Do, a significant e-book wholesaler. Joined Bilibili in 2022.

He is a Korean-Chinese from northeastern China, is trilingual in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, and is well-versed in trends in the content industries of the three countries. He asked Mr. Kim about the direction of Chinese companies in the manga and anime industry and why he chose to “animate Japanese webtoons in China.” (Part 1 of 2)

Create topicality in China, generate sales in Japan and South Korea, and lead to secondary development.

First of all, please tell us about the current situation of the Chinese manga market. Kim Long ago, Chinese companies also produced weekly and monthly manga magazines like Japan. At one point, several million copies were published, but when it comes to “manga,” most of them originated in Japan.

Even in the web and smartphone age, the Japanese manga-style page view (a format in which each manga page is displayed on a smartphone or tablet display) was standard for a while. However, in recent years, with the rise of Korean webtoons, vertical-scrolling full-color works have become mainstream for pieces made in China. When I couldn’t imitate the Korean way well, there was full-color vertical scrolling manga with frame division, but most recent Chinese comics are in the webtoon format. Different from Japan and South Korea, publishing digitally serialized works in book form is less popular in China.

In other words, there is no category called “manga” in the publishing market. It is treated as a “children’s book” or a “picture book.” Publication screening in China is rigorous, and comics rarely get an ISBN even if they apply. It is becoming increasingly challenging to publish famous Japanese manga on paper. On the other hand, the digital shift has progressed, partly because it is left to the judgment of the platform rather than the government’s preliminary examination.

From around 2021, not only Korean webtoons but also Chinese manga will be distributed on various manga services in Japan. Money, yes Until five or six years ago, Chinese manga companies were targeting the domestic market. However, the Chinese manga app industry has a low billing rate and selling price.

The figures that are often announced as the scale of China’s “animation” market are the sum of manga and anime, and if you look at manga alone, the scale is by no means extensive. Therefore, manga is not a medium that boosts sales but gains the recognition of hundreds of millions of users, and it can be made into a movie or film.

It was a business model that led to secondary development, such as gamification, and made a profit from the contract fee. However, since the 2020s, overseas markets such as Japan and South Korea have overwhelmingly better billing rates and amounts than the Chinese market. It’s changing to the flow of going. It would be good to do a simultaneous distribution during the day, make sales and topics separately, and bring it to the secondary development.

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