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Bandai Invests 1.5 Billion Yen in YLAB STUDIOS to Boost WEBTOON IP Acquisition

Partnership Aims to Create Global IPs, Expanding Japanese Content through WEBTOON Studio’s Expertise
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Bandai, a global leader in the IP business, has announced a significant investment of 1.5 billion yen in YLAB STUDIOS, the Japanese subsidiary of South Korean WEBTOON powerhouse YLAB. This strategic move is aimed at strengthening Bandai’s acquisition of original IP from the rapidly growing WEBTOON medium.

YLAB, a prominent WEBTOON studio in South Korea, has been at the forefront of producing popular WEBTOON works that have garnered worldwide attention. Its success in Japan is evident with titles like “Tetsuzuki Teacher” ranking high in the LINE Manga 2023 first half ranking. The studio’s mantra, “CREATIVE FIRST.”, has led to the establishment of Korea’s first training organization for WEBTOON production personnel, setting a benchmark in the industry.

YLAB STUDIOS, launched in March 2022, serves as a global expansion base for Japanese IP. Leveraging the expertise in WEBTOON production from Korea, the studio is poised to hire and train creators in Japan, enhancing its WEBTOON planning and production capabilities. Collaborations with Korean resources for translation and distribution are already expanding Japanese IP globally, as seen in the rollout of “Super String -Isekai Kenbunroku-” in seven regions.

Bandai’s investment will foster a collaborative production of IP with YLAB STUDIOS, with plans to transform these IPs into anime, figures, and merchandise. The Bandai Namco Group aims to maximize the value of these IPs by tapping into a diverse array of channels for distribution and marketing.

Echoes, a subsidiary of Bandai Namco Film Works, along with the Bandai Namco Group, is set to enhance its vertical scrolling manga planning and production system. This collaboration with YLAB STUDIOS is part of Bandai’s broader strategy to create IPs that resonate globally, addressing the challenge of making more IPs widely available worldwide.

Yoon In-nan, CEO of YLAB STUDIOS, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Bandai, envisioning a strong collaboration in secondary IP businesses. Kazuhiro Takenaka, President and Representative Director of Bandai, emphasized the company’s commitment to developing IPs that deliver joy and excitement globally. This investment in the WEBTOON business marks a new chapter in Bandai’s IP investment strategy, setting the stage for innovative content creation and global expansion.

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