This article summarises Naeun Kim and Lauren Hong (2018) “The power of culture in branding: How the Korean Wave can help global brands thrive in Asia”, Journal of Brand Strategy, Volume 6, Number 3, pp 293-307.

Although brands are aware of the enormous potential of the Asian retail market, many are overlooking a key market trend that is sweeping across Asia — the Korean Wave. This South Korean pop culture phenomenon can help global brands thrive in Asia, say two researchers at the University North Carolina.

What is the Korean Wave? Writing in the Journal of Brand Strategy1, Naeun Kim and Lauren Hong point to Psy’s Gangnam Style, a song that has gone viral worldwide on YouTube, with over 2.8 billion hits as of July 2017. They also note the Korean television series, Descendants of the Sun, which has been exported to 32 countries and attracted more than 2.4 billion views on a Chinese video streaming website. Korean cultural content exports increased from $500 million in the early 2000s to more than $5 billion by 2015. And Korea has become the top non-Western country to export a wide variety of cultural media, including film, music and online games.