Korean webtoons and collective innovation: expanding Europe's creative industries through competitive localization
This study investigates the rise of South Korea's webtoon industry and the fan- translators who are contributing to the transformation of this entrepreneurial digital comics format. By analyzing the creator-owned thriller series Bastard (2014 -) and its various foreign-language versions, the authors demonstrate how cultural intermediaries are localizing content and cultivating new audiences through a process of 'collective innovation'. The characteristics of this crowd-sourced activity offer new understanding of the dynamics and potential impacts of this digital comics industry, which is rapidly transforming with only limited policy intervention. The study illustrates how the French digital comics platform Delitoon is attempting to compete in this Korean-dominated domain, raising questions for enterprises seeking to join this popular wave of digital media. In doing so, this study fosters debate for business managers, policymakers, and practitioners in Europe's creative industries who are developing and promoting creator-owned content while challenging protectionist boundaries.