(ATTN: UPDATES with quotes by Yoon, a budget plan in paras 7-9)
By Shim Sun-ah
SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) — The government said Thursday it will help double the country’s exports of cultural content to US$25 billion by 2027 by expanding its overseas markets to the Middle East, North America and Europe.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported the plan during a government meeting on export strategies, presided over by President Yoon Suk Yeol.
South Korea’s exports of the content industry hit an all-time high of $12.4 billion for the country in 2021, boosted by the global boom of Korean pop culture, according to government figures.
The ministry said it will increase the exports by an average of 12.3 percent every year to achieve $25 billion in 2027 by pushing for its so-called 3E strategies for K-content exports.
The 3Es stand for “expansion” of the export market, “extension” of the content industry and utilization of the premium “effect” of the global popularity of Korean content, according to the ministry.
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.
“As it has gained global popularity, the K-content industry has seen its exports grow and is creating enormous economic value considering its impact to other industries,” Yoon was quoted by a ministry official as saying during the meeting.
He asked the public and private sectors to be united as one team to make the country a content power.
The ministry said it plans to inject about 1.1 trillion won (US$847.5 billion) into the project to support the industry this year and possibly more next year through consultations with the budgetary authority.
For the goal, the government will try to expand the industry’s markets to the Middle East, Europe and North America, areas where Korean content is less popular than in Asia.
Currently, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan account for more than half of South Korea’s content industry exports together while the shares of North America and Europe are 13.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively. Other regions, including the Middle East, represent only 5.8 percent.
To expand the markets, the government said it will try to increase chances to expose Korean cultural products in foreign countries such as by hosting a Korean content exposition in the United States and Britain this year.
It also plans to build overseas content hubs in such global cities as New York, London, Frankfurt, New Delhi and Mexico City to increase the number of hubs from currently 10 in nine countries to 15 in 13 countries.
The ministry said it will provide support of a combined 9 billion won to 30 local game companies so they can make console games popular in North America and Europe.
Considering the growing interest of Middle Eastern countries in high technologies and cultural content, the government also plans to distribute customized content considering local languages and cultural backgrounds and promote Korean content through cultural events, such as K-pop performances.
The government is also seeking to extend the scope of the content industry by actively supporting web-based cartoons, online streaming services and other fields related with the platform industry.
As the growth of the content industry can have a positive influence on exports of other related industries, such as fashion, beauty, home appliances, IT and construction, the ministry will try to find more ways to utilize the premium of the Korean content. Exposing their brands or products in popular Korean content and developing in-bound tour packages, including a K-pop concert, could be good examples, it added.
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