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The Korean Wave in China 2015-02-15 오후 10:09:00

How did you start off the new year? The beginning of 2015 in Shanghai included fireworks, the countdown at the Bund, and to many citizens’ delight, some pleasant guests from Korea. K-pop group “Girls’ Generation” visited Shanghai for its 1st fan party on January 3.

The event was held in the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Outside on the streets, people sold Girls’ Generation posters, calendars, and postcards; in the pink-lighted arena, the fan party started with the crowd cheering with joy. The eight members of the group performed many of their songs along with dances. There was also a special program in which the celebrities answered questions from fans and made new-year greeting cards for them. Both the fans and the members participated in the event with great enthusiasm, and thereby filled the place with excitement.

Girls’ Generation wished all fans in Shanghai a happy new year, and then went on to meet their fans in Guangzhou the next day. They had already visited Shenzhen, Nanjing, Chongqing and Beijing the past year.

Today, events like this are being held in China quite frequently, due to the gaining popularity of Korean music and entertainment. A big part of K-pop and K-drama fans being Chinese, fan meetings and concerts attract huge crowds. However, the effects of this phenomenon called “Hallyu” goes much further than that.

As the drama “You Who Come from the Stars” became a huge hit in China in 2014, “chicken and beer” drew attention. Curious fans in Shanghai headed for “Hanguojie(韩国街, Korean Town)”, where many Korean residents live. They flooded the streets and marveled at the Korean food and culture, not even bothering to wait in long lines for a taste of Korean fried chicken. The transformation of a peaceful town into a tourist attraction brought some inconvenience for the residents, for the area became overcrowded, restaurant menus changed according to the Chinese customers’ needs, and the rental fees went up. However, at the same time it proved the influence of Korean entertainment in China.

Then, the Chinese parody of two dramas, “The Inheritors from the Stars(来自星星的继承者们)” was introduced. The series consisting of ten episodes tells the love story of a prince in Qing Dynasty who came to the modern world as an inheritor of a major company, after being hit by an arrow. It was released on September 19th, 2014, and brought about heated discussion in both China and Korea. Chinese TV stations are also parodying Korean reality shows such as “I am a Singer” and “Running Man”, achieving high viewing rates as a result.

The Korean wave has also been influencing markets in China. In KFCs, Jun Ji-hyun and K-pop group EXO are bringing excitement to all fans; Lee Min-Ho has appeared in advertisements of online shopping site Taobao, and Park Shin-hye in commercials for the beverage company Tongyi. The amounts of money these companies pay are astronomical, but they know how much the customers want to be like their favorite celebrities. Thus, people are following Korean trends in Chinese restaurants that serve Korean “bibimbab”, in cosmetics that claim to have used Korean technology, and so on. In the process, the Korean features often change according to the taste of Chinese people.

At this point, it is clearly proven that Korean culture has steadily set foot in China. Now, we should be aware of our new advances and think of ways to effectively bring about international cooperation through these valuable opportunities.

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