K-Pop to offer support for South Korea's pandemic-hit economy
By Global Business

South Korean pop music (K-Pop) is growing as a cultural and economic phenomenon globally. Experts believe that K-Pop will offer support for the country's pandemic-hit economy.

The South Korean economy has enjoyed fast development over the last 20 years, with K-Pop an important pillar industry. K-Pop groups had flourished domestically in the early 1990s. By the mid-90s, the K-pop star system had become entrenched in South Korea.

K-pop bands, including Tong Vfang Xien Qi, Super Junior, Girls Generation, EXO and Black Pink, are gaining popularity at home, across Asia, and around the world. Professor Kim Seiwan from Ewha Womans University, says that based on South Korean official estimation, K-Pop generates about 10 billion U.S. dollars for the country each year.

And the boy band BTS is the biggest hitmaker in South Korea's pop chart history. The band made it to the No. 1 position on the Billboard 100 recently, reflecting K-Pop's music caliber. In 2019, the band accounted for nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars of South Korea's GDP, surpassing Korean Air's contribution to its GDP. 

"The accumulated revenue generated by BTS since their debut in 2014 is going to be 47 billion U.S. dollars, which is larger than the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018," Professor Kim said.

And the popularity of K-Pop has spurred growth in other sectors, such as tourism, food, fashion and language education. K-Pop will offer support for the country's pandemic-hit economy, according to Waqas Adenwala, Asia analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

"K-Pop is not just music for a lot of people. It won't take the recession back into a growing economy for South Korea this year. But K-Pop can offer some support for sectors such as fashion, retail, online sales, and food product sales," the analyst said.