Kim Chang-han, the winner of national coding competitions in South Korea in the 1980s, is planning to launch an initial public offering (IPO) worth billions in mid-to-late 2021. Though the road from former child prodigy to announcing, probably, South Korea's biggest IPO has not been very smooth. There were a lot of bumps along the way.
In 2014, Kim Chang-han had to lay off a third of the employees at his gaming startup. When in 2000 all three multiplayer online games at his three startups failed to float on the surface, Kim Chang-han drowned in disappointment. He had hit the rock bottom, when he had to sell his firm, now known as Krafton Inc, and join the same company as an executive producer.
Repeated failures could not stop Kim Chang-han from making further attempts to succeed in his pursuit. Things turned to a brighter direction when the coding genius made an online game known as a battle royale game. In this game, players compete amongst each other in an ever-shrinking battlefield to emerge as the last person standing. Kim's endeavour was further fuelled, as he also managed to bring the Irishman Brendan Greene on board, who joined the firm as the creative director of the game and moved to South Korea too.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG, one of the most successful games of all time was released in 2017 by Krafton now known as Bluehole Inc. More than 70 million copies of its PC and console versions were sold and 600 million mobile versions were downloaded of this world-famous game.
Kim, now Krafton's chief executive officer (CEO), has recently announced that the company is planning South Korea's biggest initial public offering (IPO) within mid-to-late 2021. The share of this IPO seemingly has the potential to reach up to billions of dollars. Eugene Investment & Securities Co reports that this IPO could roll in as much as $30 trillion won ($27.2 billion) for the startup.
PUBG is the highest-grossing account for Krafton amongst four other game studios and the company has recorded more than $1.1 billion within nine months, ended September last year. Still, it infuses some doubts among some of the associates of the company regarding whether or not it is a "one-hit wonder" and whether or not it can grow into a bigger franchise using PUBG's intellectual properties.
Krafton's Kim states that the company is about to set sail in new ventures by creating an animated show and web cartoons. They are also planning to make these productions available on online streaming platforms. It is also eyeing to make movies and dramas in the near future.
It seems that the former winner of a personal computer contest, organised by South Korea's science ministry in 1985 and the co-founder of Ginno Games in 2009, Kim Chang-han is determined to shrug off the "one-hit wonder" tag as Krafton prepares to go public. According to Kim, the company is ready to go beyond the initial success of its range of games. It is all set to release a new battle royale mobile title this year that will be based on PUBG, another PUBG-related PC and console game by next year and a survival horror game in 2022 that will depict the PUBG universe three centuries into the future.