Korean Manhwa Export Increasing
Dong-A Ilbo has published an article on the manhwa industry in South Korea. Contrary to the success of manwha overseas, the domestic manhwa market in South Korea is not doing so well. Over 80% of the Korean market is composed of imported comics, mostly from Japan. Even worse, the size of the Korean market is decreasing.
In the middle of this gloomy situation, the increase of manhwa exports serves as a ray of hope to the Korean industry. According to the "Manhwa Industry Survey," the number of manhwa exported in 1999 totaled only $240,000, in 2004 it increased to $1.9 million, and $3.26 million in 2005.
In the past, only Japan and a few other Asian countries imported Korean manhwa, but now manhwa is spreading like wildfire in the U.S., Europe, and South Asia. Manhwa has earned a positive reputation in these countries. A staff from Shibede Publishing, which introduced manhwa to France, said, "Manhwa used to be seen as a clone of Japanese manga, but recently Korean artists have developed their own original styles."
Sohee Park's Goong became a mainstream manhwa during the Korean manhwa boom. Goong was not only popular in Japan, but also Hong Kong, China, France and
Kim Sung Jae's Chunchu and Hee Joon Son/Youn Kyung Kim's Yureka (ID_entity) also became popular titles both inside and outside of South Korea. In 2006, Chunchu won the "Our Manhwa Prize" and was published in France, so far 15 volumes have been released. With its rough art style and a tragic story, Chunchu attracted passionate reactions from the fans.
Manhwa's popularity isn't limited to the publishing business. The web comic company Ecomix (known as NETCOMICS in the U.S.) is providing over 30 manhwa titles on their website www.netcomics.com. Currently www.netcomics.com is getting 2,000-3,000 hits per day; Ecomix is expecting their traffic to increase five times more by next year.