Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Kakao Counts on Japan's Manga Love to Break Through Overseas

  • Company in talks with Nomura for Tokyo listing in 2020
  • Daily users for its manga app to reach 1 million in September
Updated on

Asia’s messaging apps have a history of becoming huge in their home market before struggling to gain traction overseas. South Korea’s Kakao Corp. is counting on the Japanese love of manga comics to break that trend.

Amassing 43 million users at home has driven Kakao’s market value to 8.1 trillion won ($7.2 billion) but it’s little known outside Korea, a factor that’s contributed to a 33 percent share price slump from a peak in August 2014. Earlier efforts to add customers in Southeast Asia and Japan have foundered as it ran head-first into dominant apps like WeChat and Line.