SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean exports of its pop culture products have been on the wane in recent months, central bank data showed Monday, as major importer China seems to be toughening regulations due apparently to Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula.
According to the data by the Bank of Korea, outbound shipments of TV programs, music, movies and other Korean pop culture products came to US$51.5 million in October, down 21.7 percent from the previous month and the smallest monthly tally in 13 months.
October also marked the second consecutive month of decline. The tally included income South Korean entertainers earned from overseas performances.
Shipments of South Korea cultural products had been rising sharply until the first half of this year thanks to the high popularity of its pop culture in Asia and other foreign countries, called the Korean Wave, or hallyu. China is a big market for such goods.
Exports of hallyu-related cultural goods stood at $241 million in the second quarter of this year, surpassing the $200 million mark for the first time, helped by the megahit Korean TV series “Descendants of the Sun.” In June, the amount hit a monthly record of $95.6 million.
Outbound shipments of Korean pop culture products, however, took a hit from intensifying diplomatic discord between South Korea and China over Seoul’s decision in July to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the Korean Peninsula to better defend the country from North Korea’s ever-growing military threats.
China has protested the deployment of the U.S. anti-missile system, insisting that the move can undermine regional peace and security.
Despite Beijing’s official denial, experts here say Beijing has toughened its regulations on Korean pop culture and entertainers since last month in apparent retaliation against South Korea’s decision on the THAAD deployment.
Several hallyu-related events have been canceled since then, with South Korean actors and actresses dropping out of Chinese TV dramas. According to the website of China’s culture ministry, no South Korean stars were given the go-ahead to perform in China in October and November.