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(SEOUL=Yonhap News) Sales of Korea's contents industry, which has remained strong despite a series of challenges, exceeded KRW 100 trillion for the first time last year.
Although diplomatic tension between Korea and China sparked by Korea's decision to deploy the high-altitude missile defense system (THAAD), content industry exports, including exports to China, surged sharply.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and The Korea Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA) announced that sales of Korea's contents industry in 2016 was KRW 105.2 trillion (preliminary figure), up 5.7 percent year on year.
The growth rate is higher than last year's 4.8 percent and more than double Korea's economic growth rate of 2.7 percent last year.
Sales revenue of the contents industry was KRW 83 trillion in 2011, KRW 87.3 trillion in 2012, KRW 91.2 trillion in 2013, 94.9 trillion in 2014 and KRW 99.5 trillion in 2015.
Last year, Korea's contents industry was hit by China's move to ban cultural contents from Korea and adversely effected by the political scandal involving the president's confidante. China is the largest market of the Korean cultural contents and accounts for 30% of the total contents exports.
Despite growing concerns, however, Korea's contents industry fared well overall backed by the steady growth of the domestic market and growing popularity of Korean pop culture abroad.
The contents industry is divided into 11 sectors: publication, comics, music, game, movie, animation, broadcasting, advertisement, character and knowledge information, and contents solution.
Particularly, steady export growth was an encouraging signal. Last year's contents exports recorded USD 6.31 billion, climbing 8.3% from the year earlier.
Exports of the contents industry has been steadily on the rise, growing from USD 4.3 billion in 2011 to USD 4.61 billion in 2012, USD 4.92 billion in 2013, USD 5.27 billion in 2014, and USD 5.83 billion in 2015.
Although increase in exports last year was slightly subdued by dipping to 8.3 percent from 10.5 percent in 2015, but it still was above the average. The content industry exports showed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.0 percent during the five years from 2011.
This is a stark contrast with the nation's total export growth, which recorded -5.9 percent in 2016 following -8.0 percent in 2015.
Knowledge information and character business led the growth of the entire contents industry last year, according to the KOCCA.
An official at the agency said, "The contents industry hasn't taken a large share of the total GDP, but it breathed vitality into the economy by maintaining the strong pace of growth amid sluggish demand and faltering exports." He also added that "We will implement various supportive policies to strategically nurture the contents industry."
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism recently released its business plan and forecast sales of the contents industry to be KRW 111.4 trillion, up 5.9% from the previous year.
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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 15, 2017)
** This article is translated from Korean.