Japanese book and games publisher Kadokawa Corp. plans to expand throughout Asia, including Hong Kong, over the next few years, setting up vocational schools to train workers for the comics and animation industry, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.
Kadokawa aims to train up to 30,000 illustrators, animation technicians and voiceover professionals in the next decade as it sets up shop in 10 countries and regions in Asia. Its facilities in Hong Kong are expected to be ready by 2016, the report said.
Hong Kong industry watchers said the plan could see some technical jobs shifting from Japan to places where costs are lower. It could also increase demand for comics, online games and other animated products in Asia, including China.
Most locally trained industry professionals graduate either from the Hong Kong Design Institute or the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong, which together produce about 270 graduates each year.
Analysts said the move could also improve industry standards in Hong Kong, where the comics and animation market has been expanding.
The local market is expected to contribute HK$200 million (US$25.8 million) to the economy this year, according to the Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation.
The Hong Kong Digital Entertainment Association projects online games and mobile app-related revenue to reach HK$600 million this year.
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