Kuaikan, a popular online comics platform in China, has raised $240 million in a new round of funding, the company announced on Monday. Kuaikan claims the round is the largest ever in China’s online comics industry, according to its WeChat statement

Why it matters: Kuaikan, which offers digital comics in its app and website, has managed to attract investors’ attention in the competitive online comics sector.

  • Founded in 2014, Kuaikan has become a leading digital content hub for readers of Chinese comics.

Details: Investors include existing backers Tencent, Coatue Management, and Tiantu Capital, and newcomers like CCB International, the investment arm of China Construction Bank, and One Store, a South Korean app market operator co-owned by Naver, which runs the world’s largest digital comics platform Naver Webtoon.

  • Chinese media AI Caijing reported that One Store planned to invest around RMB 223 million ($34.4 million) in Kuaikan and take approximately 3% of its shares, citing sources from South Korean media. Kuaikan’s market value will be around RMB 8 billion after the round, the report said. 
  • The proceeds from the round will be used to cultivate the platform’s content ecosystem. The company said it will spend a total of RMB 2 billion to subsidize its authors and produce animated comic book adaptions, according to the company’s statement.
  • Kuaikan’s CEO Chen An’ni said in an internal memo (in Chinese) to employees that the firm’s comics business has turned a profit and maintained revenue growth of more than 50% in the past few years.

Context: Kuaikan is the largest Chinese online comic platform. In February, the firm ranked first in the most popular comic apps list with about 29 million monthly active users, according to Bigdata-Research (in Chinese), a Chinese market consultancy. 

  • The company received $177 million in Series D funding in 2017, and $125 million from Tencent in 2019. ByteDance was once an investor of the company but exited after Tencent stepped in.
  • China’s e-comics industry has grown at a more than 20% rate in the past five years, and the market is expected to reach RMB 4.6 billion by 2021, according to iMedia Research (in Chinese).

Zhanhang Ye is a Shanghai-based reporting intern for Technode, covering the content and entertainment industry. Reach out to him at 295227325@qq.com.