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South Korean market: keep the momentum going

These days, South Korea is not only a highly demanding region to scale our business, but it is also a huge breeding ground for market opportunities, given its role as “trend-setter” and the overall internet adoption reaching 96%. Korea is the hometown of the so-called “Hallyu” or more commonly known as the “Korean Wave”, that consists in glamourous tendencies followed by hundreds of millions of people from all over the world and mainly in Asia. This phenomenon determined the popularity at a global level of South Korea’s economy, that is now highly relying on the exportation of pop culture, entertainment, music, TV dramas, and games tendencies.

South Korea is famous for having developed, over the years, a really strong “soft power” which entails in captivating people by providing a distinctive image of what is trendy. The benefits that the Hallyu effect has provided are absolutely outstanding since it made the country grow in popularity in an extraordinary way, leading to an immense impact on the overall GDP which is currently the 4th largest in Europe and 10th in the world.

The power of the South Korean economy lies within well-known, internationally recognized brands which are now innovating at a large scale. Samsung and LG Electronics, if we want to name just a few, have been the pioneers of technological development in the whole consumer electronics industry. Samsung’s breakthrough approach and innovative products, design and technologies brought the brand’s value to $62,289m, winning the 5th place in the annual ranking chart released by Interbrand on the world’s top 100 brands in 2020. The second major value creator for South Korea is Hyundai, a high-tech company that is worth around 5% of the whole country’s GDP.

However, this incredibly valuable area is not only renowned for the high-tech industry. Most of the economic relevance of this country is in fact, down to the entertainment industry, where BTS- the biggest K-pop group in the world at the moment- plays a massive role. This 7-member group started their journey under Big Hit Entertainment, which used to be a black horse label, but that has now turned into a driving force, broadening into HYBE Corporation which is leading a huge role in the Korean entertainment industry. BTS alone provides about $3.6b to the South Korean economy, hauling the tourism sector with 800k visitors coming to the country every year, just because of their influence, making up for more than 70% of the annual tourists.

If we take into account the Beauty & Personal Care field, the largest Korean conglomerate is AmorePacific, which won the 7th position in the list of the top 100 global beauty companies on the US-based fashion journal “Women’s Wear Daily (WWD)”.

The reason behind these Korean brands’ success, whether we are talking about tech, beauty, or entertainment, is the increased R&D efforts that South Korea puts in every single design, production, and overall quality. This endeavor has not only helped to sustain an ever-increasing popularity, but it has also created a strong brand image, which is strengthened by the presence of new customers coming from all over the world.

Dramas are one of the main components of the Korean Wave since they are deeply connected with the country’s culture and have been a big hit for a very long time now. However, it’s only in the past few years that these famous storylines have seen a great global success. These dramas made not only Korean, but also worldwide audiences fall in love with this country’s culture, values, and expression of emotions. This hype was so amplified that it drove some video-on-demand platforms to enter the market, and Netflix which is one of the industry leaders- at present holding 40% of South Korea’s streaming market- to take part in this wave by creating original Korean dramas. So far, it has already invested roughly $500m in the Korean area with the final goal to diversify its ever-evolving offer and engage more than 3.8m Korean subscribers. In addition to this, it is recently recruiting the most talented actors and filmmakers in the country to create the trendiest content.

We are well aware that dramas and other entertainment genres have always been a magnet for the advertising industry and the apparel one, fabricating and leading worldwide trends. The Hallyu Wave, led to the spread of the country’s popular culture through various different channels, fueling exports and greatly affecting the consumer preferences, influencing consumer’s goods sales, including food, beauty and fashion. This is where a pervasive and transversal science-company, that leverages images and videos as triggers, comes in to help brands tune-in with the APAC digital generation in order to keep the momentum going.

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