A Beijing-based startup Kuaikan World Technology has raised US$240 million in fresh funding round to enter the Unicorn category. This has been the largest fundraising deal in China’s comic industry.
China’s animation and gaming industry continues to innovate and bring about changes in business and profit models. With the increasing penetration of the internet, the Chinese online comic industry has changed profoundly.
As competition in China’s online entertainment space strengthens, this fundraising deal has come as a booster for the startup. The funding round saw participation from existing investors Tencent and Coatue Management along with new investors including a South Korean app market place One Store and CCB International. The new funding has raised the company’s valuation to US$1.25 billion.
According to the company sources, the startup will be investing 1 billion Yuan over the next three years to lift the development of original comics. The company also claims to invest another 1 billion Yuan to tie up with partners for the creation of comic-adapted plays and videos.
According to the CEO and founder Anni Chen, the startup is focusing on bringing Chinese comics to the rest of the world. Kuaikan is collaborating with over 70 comic platforms across the world, covering almost 200 countries and regions in 12 languages including Korean, English, Japanese, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. This has come about after company started exploring the overseas market in 2018.
The startup competes with the likes of Bilibili Inc. for the wallet and eye up of the younger generation of the country. Kuaikan aims to tap into the passion of the country’s youth for comic, animation and games titles. The Kuaikan app hosts work by Chen’s fellow artists across the nation and create the bulk of its sales from IP licensing & advertising, and subscriptions.
According to Bloomberg News, the revenue for the fiscal year 2020 increased to 437.7 million Yuan, a growth of 27%. While the gross profit jumped to 133.2 million Yuan.
Kuaikan partners with artists to host original content on their platform thus enabling readers to access thousands of popular and new titles. The Kuaikan platform helps comic creators to develop more broadly popular comics with energetic, warm and positive content for its user base.
The startup was founded in 2014 by Anni Chen, Runchao Li, Ye Mingxiang and has since then become a popular comic platform in the country. The startup began as a digital library for original comics by Chinese comic artists. Since then the startup has attracted the backing of big investors like Sequoia Capital China and ByteDance Ltd.
The company received $125 million funding from Tencent in 2019, one of its main investors. The startup boasts of more than 200 million users and has almost 50 million monthly users. About 85% of its users are under the age of 25 years.