Kakao Friends enters US market with sponsorship of 2018 KCON LA

By Sohn Ji-young

Published : Aug 7, 2018 - 15:50
Updated : Aug 7, 2018 - 15:50

Kakao Friends, the character licensing and merchandising unit of South Korea’s mobile messaging giant Kakao, will debut in the US as an official sponsor of 2018 KCON LA, an annual Korean culture convention held in major cities worldwide.

Kakao IX, which operates the Kakao Friends character licensing business, said Tuesday that it is sponsoring the Los Angeles leg of KCON USA, an event that celebrates Korean pop culture ranging from music and dramas to movies and fashion.


During KCON LA, Kakao will promote its flagship characters as well as launch LA limited edition character goods. The firm is also planning a fan event with popular K-pop acts such as Twice, in which five winners of a lucky draw will receive signed Kakao Friends dolls.

In addition to its participation at KCON LA, Kakao IX noted that it would be opening a US-based online shopping site selling Kakao Friends goods in the near future.

Founded in March 2015, Kakao IX, formerly known as Kakao Friends, oversees the licensing and merchandising of popular KakaoTalk characters including Ryan, Apeach, Frodo and Muzi.

The characters originally gained popularity as digital emoticons on the KakaoTalk mobile messenger, and have since entered the offline realm in the form of original or collaborative goods.

Short for Kakao Innovative eXperience, Kakao IX now operates Kakao Friends’ existing business as well as the documentary magazine, food and beverage and real estate operations of its recently acquired subsidiary Joh & Co.

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation