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South Korean exports of entertainment products and services jumped in the first half from a year earlier on the rising popularity of the country's pop culture abroad, data showed Tuesday.
Overseas sales of South Korean music, films and broadcasting content amounted to US$137 million in the January-June period, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier and a record first-half tally, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK) and industry sources.
The BOK attributed the surge in entertainment exports to the surging overseas popularity of South Korean pop culture, known as "hallyu," or the Korean wave.
"The increase in entertainment exports stems from the popularity of hallyu stars and South Korean movies overseas," a BOK official said.
Market watchers predicted that South Korean exports of entertainment content
will likely grow at a faster clip in the second half of the year, reaching a
full-year record this year.
"Exports of cultural and entertainment content will surely set a new record this year. Although the global economy is slowing down due to the crisis from the eurozone, the Asian market still holds buying power," a researcher from Hyundai Research Institute said.
Last year, the nation's top three entertainment agencies -- YG Entertainment Inc., S.M. Entertainment Co., and JYP Entertainment Corp. -- raked in 78.6 billion won in overseas sales, a near four-fold gain from 2009.
The ratio of their exports to total revenue soared to 41.2 percent from 19.5 percent over the cited period, according to the data.
The first-half jump in entertainment exports led to a spike in share prices of the entertainment firms traded on the country's secondary stock market.