SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea posted a record high yearly trade surplus in copyrights last year, backed by the global popularity of K-pop, extending its annual surplus streak for the seventh year, the culture ministry said Friday.
The trade surplus in copyrights came to US$1.62 billion in 2019, the biggest yearly earnings since relevant figures were first compiled in 2010, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said, citing data from the Bank of Korea.
The same year, South Korea's trade balance in broader intellectual property came to a loss of $800 million.
The 2019 surplus in copyrights, mainly held by entertainment content, such as K-pop, computer games and software, marked the seventh consecutive annual trade balance in the black since the surplus of $20 million posted in 2013, according to ministry data.
Since 2013, the copyrights trade surplus has been on the upturn, growing to $680 million in 2015 and $1.47 billion in 2018.
The record surplus last year was attributable to the record high trade earnings of $1.8 billion from copyrights in the R&D and software category, coupled with a record low trade loss of $180 million registered in the culture and arts category.
In 2019, South Korea imported $7.01 billion worth of copyright-protected content and exported $8.62 billion, up from $1.77 billion in imports and up almost tenfold from $890 million in exports in 2010.
"The achievement of the record high trade surplus in copyrights is very meaningful as it is one of the objective indicators of the global status of South Korea's content industry," Kim Jae-hyun, the top ministry official in charge of copyright affairs, said, vowing efforts to further expand exports of the Korean content industry and to better protect copyrights.