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Korea’s art and culture copyrights record trade surplus for the first time

Korea’s art and culture copyrights record trade surplus for the first time

Posted March. 24, 2021 07:35,   

Updated March. 24, 2021 07:35


The trade balance of art and culture copyrights had a surplus for the first time last year. K-pop stars including BTS and Blackpink as well as film “Parasite,” TV show “Crash Landing on You,” “Kingdom” and webtoons have been popular overseas.  

The Bank of Korea announced Tuesday that the trade surplus from art and culture copyrights including music and TV shows was 160 million dollars (about 180.64 billion won, tentative) last year. It is the first time that the trade balance turned positive since the record started in 2012. “Exports increased as Korean content including K-pops and TV shows became more competitive, and decreased income of overseas filmmakers due to COVID-19 was also another factor that contributed to the trade surplus,” said Park Chang-hyeon, head of international balance team at the Bank of Korea.  

Korean singers and content had a strong record. BTS topped the Hot 100 (singles chart) of the Billboards for the first time as a Korean band with an English-lyric song “Dynamite” in August last year. Their Korean song “Life Goes On” also topped the singles chart in December. Blackpink ranked 13th of the chart with “Ice Cream” (with Selena Gomez) in September. It was the best record for a Korea female group. Blackpink’s official album “The Album” ranked second in the albums chart of the U.K. official chart in October.  

Film “Parasite,” a quadruple crown winner including the Academy Awards for Best Pictures and Best Director, was resonated globally and raked in a revenue of more than 300 billion won across the world. It earned more than 60 billion won in North America and more than four billion Japanese yen (about 41.6 billion won) in Japan last year, which made it the most lucrative Korean film that was ever released in Japan.  

Korean TV shows also fascinated the world. “Crash Landing on You” was a large hit in Japan. Netflix Original’s “Kingdom 2” and “Sweet Home” were also popular. “Sweet Home” ranked seventh in the U.S., eighth in Germany and sixth in France in the Netflix daily rank just three days after its release in December. “It's Okay to Not Be Okay” was also in top 10 in Asian countries right after the release on Netflix.

Hee-Chang Park ramblas@donga.com