Random House has expanded its presence in the Asian market with an agreement to form a joint venture in South Korea with the media company JoongAng Ilbo Publishers. The new company will be known as Random House JoongAng and will publish Korean-language titles in adult and children's fiction and nonfiction in hardcover and paperback formats.
According to RH, about 80% of RHJA's list will be original Korean editions; the balance will be translations. As part of its program, the company will license RH titles published internationally that are appropriate for its list, while also offering Korean-language titles for which it holds world rights to other RH companies. RHJA will focus on biographies and memoirs, business and economics, self-help and self-improvement, and philosophy, as well as literary and commercial fiction. Its children's lines will be centered on picture and chapter books, manga, and educational and instructional books. The first titles from the joint venture will be released this month.
The RH-JoongAng deal was orchestrated by Y.S. Chi, chairman of Random House Asia. Chi will oversee RHJA on behalf of RH, while Young-Bae Kim, named CEO, will be in charge of the company's day-to-day operations from the company's headquarters in Seoul. Kim had been head of JoongAng's book publishing subsidiary, M&B Publishing and Book Box Co., which now forms the core of RHJA. All of JoongAng's book publishing will be conducted through RHJA.
The deal with JoongAng was signed just less than one year after RH's joint-venture agreement with Kodansha, which formed Random House Kodansha in Japan. RH spokesperson Stuart Applebaum said the success of RHK spurred the company to continue its expansion in the Asian markets. Applebaum said RH was attracted to Korea because it has a literate population of 49 million and is Asia's third largest book market.