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S. Korea's content industry exports hit all-time high in 2021

11:32 January 04, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of cultural content hit an all-time high of US$12.4 billion for the country in 2021, boosted by the global boom of Korean pop culture, a government report showed Wednesday.

According to a 2021 research study on the cultural content industry released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the industry's exports increased 4.4 percent to $12.45 billion in 2021 from $11.92 billion in 2020.

The content industry is an umbrella term for organizations that make copyrighted works available to the public, such as publishing, music, games, broadcasting, films, cartoons, animation, characters, advertising, knowledge information and content solutions.

The director and cast of "Squid Game" attend a press conference in Seoul, in this file photo taken Sept. 16, 2022, to mark the dystopian drama winning Emmy awards. The global smash hit Korean-language Netflix show won six Emmys -- best director, best actor, guest acting, stunts, production design and visual effects -- at the 74th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. (Yonhap)

The industry has already become a major sector of the country's exports with its total exports reaching far more than home appliances ($8.67 billion), secondary batteries ($8.67 billion), electric vehicles ($6.99 billion) and display panels ($3.6 billion), according to the ministry.

According to a 2022 report from the state-run Export-Import Bank of Korea, exports of consumer goods, such as cosmetics and food, increase by $180 million when exports of cultural content increase by $100 million.

The total revenue of the content industry in 2021 stood at 137.5 trillion won (US$107 billion), up 7.1 percent from 128.3 trillion won in the previous year.

There was a 9.1 percent on-year rise in the number of businesses in the industry to about 109,000, but the number of workers decreased 4.8 percent to about 611,000.

"Although the economic situation is expected to be difficult this year, the content industry is expected to maintain steady growth," Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon said. "We plan to focus on fostering the content industry as promoting and increasing exports of the industry is a major national task."

The study was based on surveys conducted by the ministry on businesses and three affiliated organizations on businesses in the industry's 11 subfields. It will be published as a report late this month, according to the ministry.



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