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  It is said that success is not a destination but a journey. For one of Malaysia’s top publishers, the journey has been a gempak (meaning something really awesome and happening in Malay) story about three friends who share one dream, and a whole lot of imagination in between. The Venture In 1994, Chris Yew, Terence Chooi and Steven Soo decided to start their own advertising agency and named it Art Square Group. As big fans of animation, comics and games (ACG), the trio decided to diversify their business into publishing after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Hence, GEMPAK – a magazine introducing Malaysian comic artists and emerging talents to a new and wider audience – began publication in 1998. Holding the distinction of being the first Malaysian info-comic magazine that offered both local and international news and stories about the ACG world, GEMPAK proved to be an instant hit and set the tone for what was to come. Like any great entrepreneur, the founders of Art Square Group saw the opportunity to place GEMPAK at the centre of Malaysia’s unique and dynamic local entertainment scene to nurture and facilitate the global spread of Malaysian talents. The bilingual GEMPAK stood out with its unmistakable and eye- catching brand to grab the attention of all who came across it. From Inspiration to Creation With the successes of their publishing business, Art Square Group established their graphic novel publishing arm, Gempak Starz, in 2001. By 2013, Art Square Group was publishing more than 250 titles of various genres from acclaimed local, regional, and international artists. In November 2015, Art Square Group joined forces with Kadokawa Corporation, Japan’s leading entertainment content provider, to form Kadokawa Gempak Starz (KGS). Harnessing Kadokawa Corporation’s more than seven decades of experience and knowledge, KGS’s main strengths remain its creativity and imagination as it continues to meet the needs of GEMPAK’s growing fanbase. In fact, KGS aims to continue engaging and inspiring their readers with works that feature themes and concepts that transcend time and place through the strategy of their “CHANGE” (Creative, Happiness, Advance, Network, Global, Empower) vision. KGS is also looking to expand their horizons by evolving into a broad- based media company that will boast a diverse multiplatform portfolio, including animation, games, and other digital and multimedia content. Indeed, KGS’s decision to publish multilingual creative works in English, Malay and Chinese sets the foundation for them to go beyond Malaysia’s borders. In fact, their works are currently marketed internationally and have been translated into other languages, like Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, and Korean. Unleashing the Potential Within Aspiring creative talents in Malaysia can continue looking forward to showcasing their artistry across the entire spectrum of its genres of publications at KGS. The passion and dedication of some of Malaysia’s best creative artists working here is matched only by KGS’s belief in not limiting their staff’s expression as they encourage their staff to continually challenge and reinvent themselves. KGS also elevates the efficacy of their production process by locating their creative and technical staff under one roof. Doing so has enabled the staff of KGS to conceive, design and collaborate on creating their original works. This is vastly different from the common practise abroad which often involves the outsourcing and purchasing foreign works for adaption to the local market. Although KGS now publishes over 350 titles across a wide spectrum of genres that ranges from horror, romance, to science fiction, light novels, and even art books, their pride and joy remains the  20 - popularnews 135 

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