Korean cultural content, commonly referred to as K-content, has been gaining immense popularity across the globe. This is according to the results of a survey conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, which shows that K-pop, Korean food, Hallyu stars, dramas, and information technology (IT) products/brands are among the most recognized aspects of Korea. K-pop has been ranked as the most popular category for six consecutive years, surpassing IT products/brands, which were previously synonymous with Korea’s image.
The survey further indicates that K-content is not only popular among audiences but is also highly esteemed in related industries. K-content’s brand power index, which measures its current popularity and future potential, is rated at 58.8 points, with food, beauty, K-pop, movies, and fashion leading the pack. Hallyu, which refers to the Korean Wave, is highly popular worldwide, with music leading in Latin America.
The experience rate of Korean cultural content is highest for food, movies, music, and dramas. Most countries in Asia rank above average, while the United States is rated as average, and many countries in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) rank below average.
The survey indicates that more than 50% of respondents rate all content categories as moderately popular or higher, with food, beauty, music, fashion, movies, and games being the most popular. Food is the most experienced and popular category in most regions, but emerging regions like South America and the Middle East are more likely to experience movies, music, and dramas than food. Music is the most popular in South America.
Webtoon, a digital comic format originating in Korea, has topped the list of Korean cultural content consumption. The average time spent on webtoons has increased to 16.1 hours, up 0.9 hours from the previous year, exceeding the average time spent on K-content of 15.2 hours. The average monthly consumption rate has increased by 20.9% over the past three years, showing the global growth and popularity of Korean webtoons. The survey also shows that overseas consumers are also using Korean platforms in large numbers, highlighting the potential for Korean platforms to expand overseas.
The survey further reveals that Squid Game and BTS are still influential, and K-drama, such as Strange Lawyer Woo Young-woo are also popular among Hallyu consumers. The main consumption paths of K-content have increasingly focused on online and mobile platforms, with the rate of online and mobile platforms exceeding 85% in the current survey. Netflix is the main source for dramas and movies, while YouTube dominates entertainment, music, and animation.
Moreover, the consumption of K-content has a positive impact on the usage of Korean products and services, as indicated by 57.1% of respondents who reported that K-content influenced their purchase and use of such products and services. The survey findings also revealed that 37.2% of respondents expressed their willingness to purchase a brand made in Korea, underscoring the substantial impact of K-content consumption on related industries.
The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has announced plans to implement various initiatives aimed at promoting the globalization of K-content. As part of these efforts, the Ministry intends to expand its overseas business centers and provide localized information to better cater to international audiences. Additionally, the Ministry aims to enhance the export effectiveness of K-content and related industries, including food, cosmetics, and consumer goods, by organizing exhibitions, experiences, and promotional events. These initiatives are intended to facilitate cultural exchanges and increase acceptance of K-content in countries with high demand.