Hallyu, or Korean Wave fans around the world have been found to increase over 17 fold in the last decade, thus proving the firm global popularity of Korean content and stars.
According to a survey published by the Korea Foundation in cooperation with 152 overseas missions on Thursday, as of December last year, the number of Korean Wave fans recorded 156.6 million.
For the latest report, a total of 116 countries were surveyed, 31 more countries than the 85 in 2012 when the first survey was conducted. That year, the number of Korean Wave fans stood at 9.26 million.
The foundation further noted a continued geographical expansion of the Korean Wave as a notable result.
According to the report, counting by continents, six countries have newly joined from Asia and Oceania. There was one from the Americas, seven from Europe, and 17 from Africa and the Middle East.
In the meantime, the survey also saw the integration of Korean Wave fan clubs merging and working together in larger groups was prominent.
Over the past four years from 2018, the number of fan clubs has gradually decreased, totaling less than 1,500 last year. While on the other hand, the number of members per club reached some 100,000, a 45 percent increase from 70,000 fans per club in 2020.
According to the KF, the pandemic has led to renewed global competitiveness of the Korean Wave, shown by the recent successes of Korean video contents on global platforms.
The KF also added, in addition to K-pop with BTS at its center, Korean dramas, movies and webtoons which faced language barriers in the past also made giant leaps forward, proving their potential in the global market.