Caixin
Jan 15, 2020 08:14 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Producer of Smash Hit ‘Nezha’ Launches Comic Book Platform

Cinema-goers watch
Cinema-goers watch "Nezha" in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi province, on Aug. 2.

The leading film studio behind last year’s record-breaking CGI hit “Nezha” has launched a comic book platform and said it will invest about 1 billion yuan ($145 million) over the next five years adapting graphic novels into animated productions.

Beijing Enlight Media Ltd. President Wang Changtian said the company will aim for ten productions, including both film and television. The announcement was made on Tuesday at a media event to launch an Enlight subsidiary’s cartoon-focused mobile app, Yi Ben Man Hua.

The company, called Caitiaowu, was established in 2015 with a focus on creating comic content and producing animated films. Yi Ben Man Hua is a sales platform oriented towards comics suitable for adaptation into animations, especially those with mythological and fantasy elements, according to Jiang Zibin, the app’s chief editor.

The app represents Beijing Enlight’s expansion upstream, in an effort to develop more of its own IP earlier in the animation production process, an area that the company has poured resources into over the last few years. Animated films take years to produce and release, making them a risky investment proposition; developing comics will help ensure the stability and sustainability of Enlight’s animated productions.

The company’s bet on animation has already paid off with the commercial success last year of “Nezha,” a film based on a rebellious character from Chinese mythology.

After debuting last July, “Nezha” netted more than 5 billion yuan in box office sales, making it the most successful Chinese animated movie of all time. On the back of that success, Enlight’s third quarter revenue last year nearly doubled to reach 2.5 billion yuan.

In the area of comic content, however, Beijing Enlight has a long way to go. Currently, Yi Ben Man Hua has 47 comic titles available from 21 authors, most of which are free, according to Jiang. The sector leader is Kuaikan, backed by social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which holds half the market with about 3,000 creators and more than 3,000 available titles. As of last July, Kuaikan had more than 40 million monthly active and more than 200 million registered users, according to the company.

Jiang said Yi Ben Man Hua’s goal is not to cater for every taste by putting out as much content as possible. The app’s goal is not “traffic” but to encourage creators to make more comic content “suitable for adaptation into animations.”

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

You've accessed an article available only to subscribers
VIEW OPTIONS
Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code