Crunchyroll and Bitway Announce Digital Manga Initiative
San Francisco, Calif. and Tokyo, Japan Crunchyroll, Inc., and Bitway Co., Ltd. announced a strategic alliance to create the first ever legal, global, comprehensive online manga platform. In conjunction with the strategic partnership, Bitway will invest $750,000 into Crunchyroll in June 2010.
Bitway, a digital comic distribution leader in Japan formed by shareholders including the world's largest print company, Toppan Printing, and 34 major Japanese book publishers , will leverage its expertise and relationships in the Japanese publishing industry to work with Crunchyroll to create a definitive solution for the transition of manga to the digital age.
Bitway COO Tadashi Awano said: "Thus far, it has been a challenge to address the economically sustainable digitalization of Japanese manga outside of Japan. With Crunchyroll and its expertise in engineering, social media and the consumer, we hope to be able to shepherd Japanese manga's entrance into the digital era outside of Japan."
Crunchyroll CEO and Co-Founder Kun Gao said: "Crunchyroll is already the best place online to watch anime. Our strategic alliance with Bitway will help create the best place to read manga, too. By working together to create a business platform outside of Japan for manga online and the first-ever legal outlet for manga of this scale, we hope to help this great tradition of Japanese content continue for years to come."
There will be no change to Crunchyroll's corporate structure, strategic management or operations as a result of this strategic investment, but Bitway will have shareholder rights as are customary to typical minority shareholders. Full terms of the investment agreement were not disclosed.
The June 2010 strategic investment from Bitway is the second half of a Japanese strategic investment initiative, with the first half coming from TV TOKYO in February 2010.
About Crunchyroll, Inc.
Crunchyroll is a leading global video network and developer of social media applications for Japanese anime and Asian media. Through applications like Crunchyroll for iPad and Naruto Shippuden Official, set top boxes, affiliate websites and its own site, Crunchyroll delivers officially-licensed content from leading Asian media producers directly to consumers.
Crunchyroll has offices in San Francisco, Calif. and Tokyo, Japan, and is a member of the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) and Licensing International Merchandisers' Association (LIMA). Founded in 2006, Crunchyroll is funded by leading venture capital firm, Venrock, Japanese entertainment giant TV TOKYO, digital publishing leader Bitway and a group of angel investors representing some of the brightest and most successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. More information can be found at http://www.crunchyroll.com <http://www.crunchyroll.com> .
About Bitway Co., Ltd.
Bitway is a leading digital content distribution company that first launched a mobile bookstore available for the 3 major mobile operators in Japan. Bitway runs its own mobile manga retail store, "Handy Comic" the sole general bookstore offering major publishers' content including Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha, Square Enix and many others with library of 30,000 titles and 400,000 files (as of June, 2010). Also, by providing digital wholesale system for nearly 500 online bookstores, it helps both publishers and online bookstores streamline their operations substantially. With its expertise and know-how for online book service, Bitway expanded its manga distribution business to markets overseas, including France, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in 2009 and continues to create global online distribution platform.
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a number of important factors could cause actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, product delays, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers, international economic and political conditions. The companies may change their intentions, beliefs or expectations, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in the companies' assumptions or otherwise. The companies undertake no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
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