Pororo, Pucca, Mashimaro. These are some of the familiar Korean animation characters, especially popular among children.
All sorts of cartoon characters can be met at Seoul Character & Licensing Fair 2013 which started on July 17. Nearly 170 companies in the character or licensing industries from Korea and around the globe are participating in the five-day fair currently being held at COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul.
“Korean characters are cute and their stories are easy to understand for overseas viewers,” said Elias Hofman, president of Exim Licensing Group. “The Korean content industry has a high potential due to the country’s advanced digital technology.” Hofman, who is currently visiting Korea to purchase licenses of Korean characters for the South American market, said that he has a deep interest in Korean characters as they are very creative.
“Korean characters can have more opportunities in South America,” said Celso Rafael, executive vice-president of EXIM Licensing Group, pointing Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, and Peru as Korea’s key markets in the region. “Most Korean characters are targeting pre-school kids aged between two to five. I hope Korean firms can create more characters for children aged between six to ten and teenagers.”
“Korean animation characters have different styles comparing with characters from other countries,” said Can Soysa, head of the channel of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, also mentioning the “cultural closeness” between Korea and Turkey. Soysa said he is considering purchasing publication rights of some Korean animations: Ccoch, Miss Toyapo, Me and My Robot, and Boing the Play Ranger.
About 130 overseas buyers who have visited the fair for the Korean character products or licensing-related businesses received assistance with one-on-one business meetings, workshops, and business presentations, which helped them understand Korean characters and purchase licenses.
Mentioning that the scale international licensing industry amounts to USD 190 billion, Charles M. Riotto said, “Korea is prepared to become a major country in the licensing market.” Riotto, the president of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), added that international events like Seoul Character & Licensing Fair 2013 will play a big role in introducing Korea to the world licensing market, pointing out Korea’s relatively low share in the market.
The Seoul Character & Licensing Fair 2013 will be held until July 21.