S. Korean gov’t to invest $345.8 million in animation industries by 2019

February 26, 2015
Dolls featuring the globally popular Korean animation character "Pororo" are displayed at a character licensing show in Seoul on July 17, 2013. The TV animation series "Pororo the Little Penguin" debuted 10 years ago and has been exported to 120 countries around the world thus far. (Yonhap)

Dolls featuring the popular Korean animation character “Pororo” are displayed at a character licensing show in Seoul on July 17, 2013. The TV animation series “Pororo the Little Penguin” debuted 10 years ago and has been exported to 120 countries around the world thus far. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The government said Thursday it will invest a total of 380 billion won (US$345.8 million) in nurturing the domestic animation and character industries by 2019 to help them tap deeper into overseas markets.

The investment plan was unveiled by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as part of its 2015-2019 plan for cultivating the animation and character industries.

“With the global animation and character industries predicted to grow to become a 200 trillion won (US$2 billion) market by 2018, this is a big opportunity for local companies,” Yoon Tae-yong, chief official in charge of overseeing the contents industry at the ministry, said during a press briefing.

“The government will step up efforts to stir up companies’ desires for creative work and create an environment that can help them reach out to the world market,” Yoon said.

Under the plan, the ministry said it will introduce a program in which animation studios can automatically receive government subsidies based on the performance of their previous works and in which a state facility that supports start-ups in the development of contents is created. The program will help fuse the two industries together, it added.

According to the ministry, the local industries stand at the crossroads for full-scale growth. The local animation industry, which had long relied on subcontracted production for the animation industry overseas, has since become more independent, with domestic companies’ own created productions accounting for 70 percent of its total sales in 2013.

International recognition of the domestic character industry also is growing with the sharp rise in exports.

But the industries still experience difficulties in winning international competitions due to the narrow domestic market that focuses on TV animations for children, lack of talented and experienced workers, and a culture that allows for the illegal copying of characters, the ministry said.

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