Kyowon (Korean for “teacher group”) was founded in 1985 and is one of the biggest publishing companies in Korea. They produce educational resources, picture books, animations, online service and digital content. Kyowon’s educational materials are focused on prenatal care, babies and toddlers, pre-school children, elementary school students, and high school students.
Almost all of its titles are series- or program-based and focus on child development and educational needs. Kyowon's catalogue has 80 series, 90% of which are developed in house, with the remainder published in translation from around the world. Kyowon has a sales force of 30,000 agents who work with 13,000 teachers to guide children through home study materials.
The company’s publishing operations are divided into three units: Kyowon Co. Ltd. publishes home-study programs and education services such as the enhanced schoolwork guide Red Pen and the educational storybook collection Kyowon All Story; Kyowon Kumon focuses on home-study programs; and Kyowon Hipercent is a customized online learning service provider that launched in 2007.
Kyowon’s non-publishing business includes the former Kyowon L&C, which merged with Kyowon Co., Ltd. in 2014 and develops lifestyle products, and Kyowon Travel, which creates educational travel programs. Kyowon is expanding its interests in life, health, and leisure as well as developing its existing educational and cultural businesses.
Kyowon was founded by Chang Pyung-soon, who started out in insurance and later sold books door-to-door.
Analysis & Key Developments
Kyowon’s publishing revenues dropped in 2014 from 372 billion KRW to 343 billion KRW. Corporate revenues fell from 515 billion KRW to 473 billion KRW. Kyowon posted earnings of 55 billion KRW in 2014.
To mark the company’s 30th anniversary, Kyowon has pledged to grow its customer base to 10 million and its revenues to 3 trillion KRW (or 1.2 billion USD) in 2015. This figure includes Kyowon’s non-publishing business, though the company also plans to continue enhancing its core business. The goals for educational business are set at 1.65 billion KRW in revenue and 4.4 million customers.
Kyowon has licensed 1,783 titles to 95 companies in 68 countries, and has also sold television broadcasting rights of 44 shows in 18 languages. According to Danny Kim, who is in charge of international and domestic copyright and animation televising rights at Kyowon, the company plans to explore the Latin American and African markets.
Kyowon launched an educational program for PCs and Android tablets called Kyowon All&G in May 2014.
Kyowon sold one million sets (or 40 million titles) of its bestselling Solutoy series in 2014. The Solutoy series was first published in 2007 and Kyowon has sold over 130,000 sets every year.