Kadokawa of Japan to use Malaysia as launchpad to S-E Asia and Middle East

Brief caption: Gempak Starz Penang comic tour at 1st Avenue in Penang. Gary Chen/ The Star. September 28, 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tokyo-listed entertainment content provider Kadokawa Corp, which owns an 80% stake in Malaysian comics and children’s book publisher Art Square Group (ASG) via its Hong Kong publishing company Kadokawa Holdings Asia Ltd (KHA), has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with InvestKL that would see both parties expand their business into the South-East Asia and the Middle East markets.

The ceremony also marked the rebranding of the acquired entity ASG, which publishes the Gempak and Comic King comic magazines, to Kadokawa Gempak Starz (KGS).

In his opening speech, Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Idris Jala said Malaysia was poised to capture a bigger slice of the global creative content industry, valued at US$10.1 trillion up to 2019, with Kadokawa’s entry into Malaysia.

The value is based on PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global entertainment and media outlook 2015 to 2019.

Idris said with Malaysia’s creative multimedia industry worth about RM18.7bil, the partnership would progress further to produce original content, focused on international markets.

“Both parties can leverage on their expertise and further monetise the production of animation, movies, games and merchandising as well as digitalisation of creative content,” said Idris, who witnessed the MoU signing ceremony between Kadokawa Corp chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa and InvestKL chairman Datuk Seri Michael Yam. Also present were KHA CEO Susumu Tsukamoto and InvestKL CEO Datuk Zainal Amanshah.

Meanwhile, Susumu said Malaysia was an attrative hub to strategise its publishing and content business.

With KGS as the development base for South-East Asia and the Middle East, the Kadokawa group aims to strengthen original content creation for Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Arab, as these language markets have potential growth.

Additionally, it would complement its market presence in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, while it expands in other regions.

KGC CEO Chris Yew said it expected to triple its revenue with the tie-up, with more than 40% contributed by the overseas market.

He said KGS intends to bring in 30% more comic creative talents over the next two years, while 200 more jobs would be created in the IT development and content space over five years.

On the type of investments InvestKL was eyeing next year and its target, Zainal said Kadokawa was an excellent example of the type of investments they were looking to seize. He did not disclose figures.

“The value of this relationship is great between a world-class company from Japan with our local company. 

“There is huge intellectual property here and high skilled jobs that can be created with potential high export value,” he said, adding that Malaysia continued to be strong in terms of talent, ecosystem and connectivity that seemed to be  attractive for the Asean markets.

Commenting on the outlook, he said different climate presented different challenges.

That said, Zainal stressed there was tremendous opportunities within Asean itself notwithstanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which Malaysia is a member.
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