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Number of hallyu fans around the world surpasses 100 million

The Korea Foundation said Thursday that the success of Korean music, TV dramas and movies, including the Oscar-winning film
The Korea Foundation said Thursday that the success of Korean music, TV dramas and movies, including the Oscar-winning film "Parasite," contributed to the growing popularity of hallyu last year. Courtesy of CJ ENM

By Dong Sun-hwa

Hallyu, or the wave of Korean pop culture across the globe, has seen its number of fans worldwide exceed 100 million for the first time, the Korea Foundation said Thursday.

There were 1,835 hallyu fan clubs with 104 million members in 98 countries as of last September, the public diplomacy organization said in its annual report, "Global Hallyu 2020" published in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The foundation estimated there were 99 million hallyu fans in 2019.

"Global Hallyu 2020" / Courtesy of Korea Foundation (KF)
"Hallyu made great strides despite the COVID-19 pandemic last year, thanks to the success of various content such as the Oscar-winning black comedy Parasite and K-pop boy band BTS' song Life Goes On, which overcame language barriers and reached a global audience," it said. "The rise of online concerts was also behind hallyu's leap."

The report says the United States led the trend; the number of fans there soared to 15 million, a 30 percent jump from 2019. Hallyu also expanded its presence in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

But the report pointed out that the number of fan clubs in Asia declined, possibly due to anti-Korean sentiment in Japan, and China's state-led restrictions on Korean movies, music and TV dramas.

"Through Global Hallyu 2020, we can see that the dissemination of Korean culture continued even during these tough times. We hope our report can facilitate people's understanding of hallyu's current status and help hallyu-related organizations formulate business plans," federation President Lee Geun said.


The Korea Foundation said Thursday that the success of Korean music, TV dramas and movies, including the Oscar-winning film
The Korea Foundation said Thursday that the success of Korean music, TV dramas and movies, including the Oscar-winning film "Parasite," contributed to the growing popularity of hallyu last year. Courtesy of CJ ENM

By Dong Sun-hwa

Hallyu, or the wave of Korean pop culture across the globe, has seen its number of fans worldwide exceed 100 million for the first time, the Korea Foundation said Thursday.

There were 1,835 hallyu fan clubs with 104 million members in 98 countries as of last September, the public diplomacy organization said in its annual report, "Global Hallyu 2020" published in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The foundation estimated there were 99 million hallyu fans in 2019.

"Global Hallyu 2020" / Courtesy of Korea Foundation (KF)
"Hallyu made great strides despite the COVID-19 pandemic last year, thanks to the success of various content such as the Oscar-winning black comedy Parasite and K-pop boy band BTS' song Life Goes On, which overcame language barriers and reached a global audience," it said. "The rise of online concerts was also behind hallyu's leap."

The report says the United States led the trend; the number of fans there soared to 15 million, a 30 percent jump from 2019. Hallyu also expanded its presence in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

But the report pointed out that the number of fan clubs in Asia declined, possibly due to anti-Korean sentiment in Japan, and China's state-led restrictions on Korean movies, music and TV dramas.

"Through Global Hallyu 2020, we can see that the dissemination of Korean culture continued even during these tough times. We hope our report can facilitate people's understanding of hallyu's current status and help hallyu-related organizations formulate business plans," federation President Lee Geun said.


Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr

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