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'Metaverse' tech firm GIANTSTEP's IPO draws attention

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GIANTSTEP CEO Ha Seung-bong speaks during an IPO press conference held at 63 Building in Yeouido, Tuesday. / Courtesy of GIANTSTEP
GIANTSTEP CEO Ha Seung-bong speaks during an IPO press conference held at 63 Building in Yeouido, Tuesday. / Courtesy of GIANTSTEP

Naver-invested virtual reality firm makes KOSDAQ debut on March 24

By Anna J. Park

Visual creative tech firm GIANTSTEP is set to make its KOSDAQ debut later this month, attracting investors particularly interested in the so-called 'metaverse' industry. Metaverse refers to a virtually enhanced reality using augmented reality (AR) technologies through which users can interact with each other in a computer-generated environment.

Founded in 2008, the creative technology company has expanded its business portfolio from an ad-focused visual effects firm to a real-time content creator possessing cutting-edge extended reality (XR) technologies.

Company logo
Company logo

Based on more than 5,300 visual effects projects with major conglomerates such as Samsung, LG, SK and Hyundai over the past decade, the firm has reinvested its profits into R&D in various cutting-edge virtual technologies like virtual characters and digital human projects, growing into Korea's leading real-time content business.

GIANTSTEP has been collaborating on SM Entertainment's virtual K-pop group Aespa, and the firm successfully led the K-pop firm's XR live concert last year, the world's first fee-paying virtual live concert. Korea's portal tech giant Naver also acquired around a 10 percent stake in GIANTSTEP last August, partnering in various projects including virtual content production. The firm has also been closely collaborating with Walt Disney, Netflix and NBC Universal.

"Aiming to be a global creative tech studio, GIANTSTEP will become a game changer of the visual content market, spearheading a paradigm shift of the industry with differentiated technologies and original visual insights," co-CEO Ha Seung-bong said during Tuesday's IPO press conference. The company is jointly led by two co-CEOs, Ha Seung-bong and Lee Ji-chul.

The firm's two-day general subscription period for the public's stock allotments will start next Monday. It is scheduled to go public on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ on March 24. The stock's offering price is set to be determined between 9,000 won and 11,000 won ($7.89 to $9.65), and newly raised capital of around 15.4 billion won is set to be spent on further R&D as well as for key engineering employees.

The global digital content market is expected to log an annual average growth of 11 percent from 2017 to 2022, growing into a $2.9 trillion market by 2022. The real-time content market, in particular, is expected to log a 10-fold jump from 2017 to 2022, reaching the size of $62.4 billion next year.

Park Ji-won

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