The Japan Manga Alliance – a group composed of Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, and the Animate retail chain – has announced plans to expand into overseas markets. The 5 companies are pooling their resources into a joint venture that will begin with a JMA retail branch to be established in Thailand.
The goal of the JMA is to deliver high-quality manga, anime, and character goods directly to untapped overseas markets, but also to deter piracy by offering a better product that’s easy for Thailand’s anime fans to purchase legally.
In addition to the market for officially licensed goods which averages between 5 billion and 6.5 billion yen ($42 million to $54.6 million US) annually, Thailand currently has a black market for pirated goods that brings the total estimated economic value of the market to between 15 billion and 19 million yen ($126 million to $159.7 million US).
Shingo Kunieda of Animate will act as representative director for the Japan Manga Alliance, which will be based out of Animate’s headquarters in Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan. The JMA initally plans to focus on retail distribution, rather than digital distribution. If the venture proves successful in Thailand, there are plans to expand into other markets as well.