Wattpad is setting a course for expansion as its US$600-million acquisition by Korean internet conglomerate Naver (parent company of digital comic publisher Webtoon) nears completion.
The digital publisher and content producer has announced plans to grow its workforce by nearly 50% this year, adding 100 new roles and beefing up its content team.
Wattpad will continue to operate out of its Toronto headquarters, with co-founders Allen Lau (pictured) and Ivan Yuen at the helm. Also serving as Wattpad’s CEO, Lau will report to Webtoon CEO Jun Koo Kim.
Wattpad will run independently from Webtoon, but the companies plan to explore ways to collaborate and build on their experience in IP discovery and “data-backed TV and film development,” according to a release. Webtoon hosts an average of 76 million users per month, and its studio arm has worked with anime and Japanese drama streamer Crunchyroll, The Jim Henson Company, Vertigo Entertainment and Bound Entertainment.
Wattpad Studios—led by GM Aron Levitz—is in development on an estimated 90 film and TV projects with various international partners, including The Bad Boy’s Girl with Italian prodco Leone Film Group and A Través de mi Ventana with Spain’s Nostromo Pictures. Several sequels for Wattpad’s hit film After are also in the works, with six titles planned in total.
Wattpad hosts more than a billion story uploads from five million writers on its publishing platform, and has upwards of 90 million users worldwide.