Have you ever heard of the term ‘Hallyu Wave’ ? Or in other words the Korean Wave

The term of ‘Hallyu’ firstly appeared around 1999 where ‘Hallyu’ refers to South Korean culture and pop culture’s global rising popularity that encompasses the increase interest in K-pop, K-drama and the rising numbers of Korean brands. The Hallyu Wave have been helping the overall Korean economy where as one of the culture’s aspect starts gaining attention and fame worldwide, then the other aspects demands like Korean cuisine, Korean songs, Korean fashion, and Korean dramas will be positively impacted too.

Where it all began

Going all the way back to the origin of the phenomenon, it has all started around South Korea’s financial crisis in 1997. At that time, South Korea have just started restricting cultural imports from Japan, which led to many sorts of cultural voids. To avoid financial outflow of turning to other countries for their cultures, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture embarked on a mission to strengthen the local culture within South Korea by building on local talents. This involved creating 300 culture-based departments in universities across South Korea.

This plays well in South Korea’s favour where it was the start of the film production of South Korea’s first Hollywood-style big-budget blockbuster, a film production ‘Shiri’. The South Korean action blockbuster changed the Asian cinema as it outperformed by breaking box-office records and even ended up gaining more money than the film Titanic in South Korea cinemas.

‘Shiri’ was an instrumental on the Hallyu Wave’s success as another factor also come in play where around the time was also when numerous Korean dramas have just started airing in China first before other countries , which leads to huge surge of Korean cultural imports to China and other countries in East Asia, such as India and Japan, and also other South East Asia countries that have start turning to Korean entertainments where this has all been the official start for the Hallyu Wave.

Popularization Strategies

  • Aligning Business with Social Media

Firstly, with the current generation and situations, we can’t ignore that the social media nowadays is one of the best way to promote and make a gain in attention from audiences from all over the world.
 South Korea’s music industries tries to align their businesses with the use of social media platform. YouTube is an example of one of the main social media ways to promote company’s artists and music for free by in returning, the revenues in the field of licensing, royalties and advertisements. This is a successful strategy as one of the problems in the past for South Korean entertainment agencies are of illegal music downloading and the agencies sinking profits as there are low price music renting on subscription services. It’s basically like another alternative solution strategy. Specifically about the social media strategy, music (K-pop)entertainment  businesses focuses on opening official channels on various platforms to be able to interact and communicate with audiences from different directions (maximizing various social media channels).

(2020 social media statistics)
  • Engaging customers with online and offline promotions/activities

Another major marketing strategy is to engage the audience/customers with mutual activities. An example of this might be where the music entertainment businesses hosts ‘Global Audition’ program, in search for the company’s next talented artists, actors/actresses and dancers. This is a cooperating activity where people regardless of age, gender or nationalities can participate in these auditions where finalists will have the opportunity to sign contracts with the music entertainments. There are many South Korean music companies that nowadays held these global auditions including SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment, Stone Music Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment etc. From these global auditions, there have already been many foreign K-pop artists that have popularized over these years including Lisa( Blackpink), Nichikhun (2pm),  Ten (NCT), Minnie (G-IDLE), Bam bam (Got 7),(all these examples are nowadays K-pop artists who are originally from Thailand), where many more of K-pop artists like these have passed through from these global auditions and has become globally well-known.

Furthermore to mutual activities, to expand the Hallyu Wave further, South Korean music entertainments have now send their artists to perform on mutual K-pop music platform called “K-Cons” where these are events that resembles concerts for the audiences but featuring with many groups of artists lineups, sharing their performances and enjoying doing fun activities with their fans ( ie. Random play dance where people dances to different choruses of K-pop songs)  where audiences can also be able to see interactions between many artists of the same music industry. K-Cons are now being held in many countries including many cities in America, Japan and Thailand etc. where this activity not only helps create profits for South Korean music companies ( through selling tickets and merchandises during the event) but also helps increase the popularization of K-pop globally, making audience acknowledge Korean music more.

K-con in Thailand

In terms of the cinematography industry, South Korea is also well known for holding international film festivals that directors and people from world wide give their interests to. With the strong entertainment platform industry, event such as the ‘Busan International Film Festival’ held in South Korea is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. The purpose of the BIFF is to introduce new films and also first-time directors globally especially Asian countries where the global audiences gives interests because of all the new films that are being screened continuously during the event. This kind of event automatically promotes the Korean cinematography itself too as many Korean films were also chosen for screening during each break sections where viewers will be able to enjoy or criticize the Korean cinematography too.

  • Endorsements and Expansions

As if today, many Korean entertainments media has the strong platform that are enough to create global awareness from audiences where a strategy that companies has been taking advantages of from the Hallyu Wave is by having popular Korean artists/stars to endorse on the company’s products to increase their brand awareness globally. There are many good examples of this which includes LG Electronics Company hiring Korean artists like Twice,Gray,Super Junior, Wonder Girls, BTS to endorse on different types of the company’s products, Samsung company hiring Korean artists like Blackpink to endorse on their new phone, AIS company hiring Korean artists like Bam bam (Got7) and Lisa (Blackpink) to be their brand ambassadors, or even local shopping malls in Thailand (Show DC) hiring BTS to be their face. Where all these companies that uses this strategy has successfully gain increase in reputation amongst global audiences as the world wide artist’s fans  are supporting all the artists’ endorsements.Brands are also able to increase expansion of their stores globally as there are likely more customers willing to buy their products.


In conclusion, with the rapid spread of social media, K-pop have been spreading globally all across Asia, Europe and America influencing many people in many different ways where the world wide success of K-pop contributes to the positive image of Korea and the increase of Korean economy and so this shows that the Hallyu Wave or Korean Wave has truly play a huge part in creating global awareness of Korean cultures, country and the many different industries within Korea especially the entertainment industry.