Tapas Media and Tencent Animation and Comics (Tencent AC) are looking to reach English-speaking consumers by bringing a library of popular Asian franchises into the North American market.

The indie book and digital comic platform is partnering with Tencent AC to take advantage of the United States’ $1.08 billion comics market and $28 billion book market by distributing a series of comics with crossover appeal and potential, including titles like Fox Spirit Matchmaker, Book of Yaoguai, Cupid’s Chocolate-ing, Jack Of All Trades and Zombie Brother.

Chang Kim, CEO of Tapas Media, told AListDaily the North American market is starving for unique stories and content that will resonate with them.

“One only needs to look at the current content war being waged by some of the largest companies in the US to see how true that is. Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google—they’re all focusing significant resources and effort toward either creating or acquiring new and original content, and they’re doing it at a blistering pace and cost,” Kim said. “Fortunately for Tapas, most of the focus in those battles are centered around video. We play the game much closer to where the seeds of the next generation of great stories will actually come from—and that is with indie and professional writers and comic creators.”

Kim says his San Francisco-based brand partnered with Tencent AC because of its wide reach in games, films, music, social networks, esports and of course, animation and comics. The global content powerhouse is deemed as a reliable partner because of its significant resources and global vision.

“We work closely with many different global content partners and we value each and every one of those relationships,” Kim continued. “However, it’s natural that some partners will have more resources to devote to international expansion than others. So, with that in mind, one of our goals with Tapas is to act as a gateway through which international content creators can connect to Western readers. Once we bring partners through that gateway, we will work closely with them to provide opportunities where they can build their brand and increase their market share in the West.”

Zou Zhengyu, general manager of animation and comics for Tencent AC, said that Tapas Media is one of the conglomerate’s most important overseas partnerships, and that the deal will be “key in helping to connect the global marketplace to the freshest and most popular comic IP from China’s growing content industry.”

The titles, officially rolling out this month through the Tapas App, were chosen as ideal flagship candidates after both parties closely reviewed Tencent AC’s comic library and considered comics with crossover potential that had great art, a universal theme and story arc that would translate well across borders, in addition to already being a hit in China.

Furthermore, Tapas, which has over two million users who have read over two billion pages of content since being founded in 2012, also has plans to expand from self-publishing comics to more premium content.

“While it may seem like Tapas is only more recently expanding into premium content, it’s actually something that has been core to what we’ve set out to achieve since day one. Our vision is ultimately about bringing those two sources together under one platform,” Kim says. “On one hand, we will always stay true to providing a stage that can lead to financial support for indie creators, and on the other, we will continually search the globe for the best premium stories we can find, whether they come from a small studio in Malaysia or a top US publisher. That’s our vision.”

To date, Tapas has published more than 23,000 creators. Kim says it was the perfect time for the global comics platform to localize and distribute the franchises.

“There is major disruption taking place in how content for Western audiences is being created and distributed,” Kim explained. “Relatively new media companies are allocating billions of dollars for the creation of content because the traditional channels are crumbling under their own weight of risk aversion and antiquated production methodologies.”

Netflix, for one, is spending $6 billion on original content with no stop in sight and straddling the strategy with $1 billion in marketing. Kim says consumer tastes are moving too fast for the traditional channels to keep up.

“The minute they think they have something, something new is already taking its place,” he says. “But again, most of this taking place in the realm of video, such as video-on-demand services. For novels and comics, Tapas is really the only truly disruptive force. So, whether or not the industry is ready for it, we do think the readers are. And at the end of the day, that’s what really counts.”