America’s Latest Obsession With Comics Hits Wall Street - The Average Joe


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    America’s Latest Obsession With Comics Hits Wall Street

    Rhea Lobo

    June 27, 2024

    If you thought Comic-Con has its fair share of Otakus, wait until you see them taking over Wall Street this year. Since the pandemic, manga has become a fan favorite in US bookstores, making up at least half of graphic novel sales over the past three years. This surge in popularity has sparked global interest and investment in anime, manga, and manhwas (South Korean comics).

    • Just last week, Blackstone invested $896M in Infocom, an e-comics platform — marking its third private equity investment in Japan in six months.
    • Yesterday, South Korean online comics giant Webtoon, with over 170M users across 150 countries, debuted on the US stock market with a valuation of nearly $2.7B.

    Heroic returns: The Japanese government aims to increase the value of its content exports from ¥4.7T to ¥20T by 2033 (BBG). Meanwhile, South Korean webtoons, fueled by the country’s high-speed internet and widespread smartphone use, have seen their market value soar from $109M in 2013 to $1.33B in 2022. Last year, Netflix launched at least seven shows inspired by webtoons like “The 8 Show,” capitalizing on a massive and growing fan base.

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