By Han Sang-hee
Hallyu star Bae Yong-joon
is gearing up as a businessman in Japan as he is set to acquire a stake in a listed Japanese firm sometime next year.
According to the local stock business, Kosdaq-listed distribution company Keyeast's Japanese affiliate BOF International (BOFi) will merge with Japanese digital contents distribution company Digital Adventure (DA). Bae, 36, is the largest shareholder of BOFi, with 34.64 percent of shares.
When BOFi is merged into DA next year, Bae will become the largest shareholder in the Japanese company.
"It has not been officially decided yet, but when the merging is complete, there will probably be a great exchange in stocks", an official from Keyeast said.
The local company is looking forward to various outcomes, including reliable Japanese personnel and a sales distribution like those of convenient stores and mobile and Web services.
Keyeast originally launched BOFi, entered the Japanese market and commissioned most of the businesses related to the actor, from managing Web sites, promotional events and Bae's rights regarding cups and diaries, to a Japanese company. But now, Keyeast can focus on all the preceding businesses to DA, making it more efficient in time, business and communication.
Keyeast is planning to publish travel guides that carry the beauty of Korea and also a special one that will present photos of Korea taken by the actor himself. The books will be released in Korea, Japan, China and the United States.
The company is also planning to make an animated version of the hit Korean drama "Winter Sonata
" (2002) that starred Bae and fellow actress Choi Ji-woo
. The two actors will lend their voices to characters in the film. It is also looking into producing the drama "The Drops of the Gods" with Bae starring.
Bae, who made it big here and in Japan with dramas "Winter Sonata
" and "Taewangsasingi" ("The Legend", The Four Guardian Gods, 2007), is a popular actor who won the prestigious Hwa-Gwan Order of Cultural Merit by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism this year and also strived to expand Korean cuisine into the homes of Japanese fans with his kimchi and restaurant business.