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BTS adds 4 trillion won to the Korean economy

Dec 19,2018
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BTS members give an acceptance speech after receiving the Artist of the Year award at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong on Dec. 14. [YONHAP]
Popular boy band BTS’s annual economic value is estimated at over 4 trillion won ($3.5 billion), making it more lucrative than a medium-sized company.

The group’s annual production inducement effect, which refers to the value generated in related industries, is estimated at around 4.1 trillion won, according to a report by Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) released Monday.

“BTS was the first Korean artist to place at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200,” read the report. “The group’s rising fame and popularity can be observed in the explosively growing number of Google searches and YouTube video counts after 2017.”

“Expecting such growth in popularity to have a positive effect on the Korean economy, we wanted to estimate the impact of BTS’s popularity on the domestic economy by assessing foreign tourists and consumer exports.”

Research findings revealed that the HRI’s assumptions were correct. According to the report, BTS is responsible for attracting at least 796,000 foreign tourists annually to Korea since their debut in 2013. The report also credits the group for increasing sales of related exports by $1.1 billion every year, including $233.98 million worth of clothing, $426.64 million worth of cosmetics and $456.49 million worth of foodstuffs.

BTS’s estimated annual economic value of 4.1 trillion won is 26 times larger than the average medium-sized company in Korea, which earned just 159 billion won in 2016 according to the report.

The HRI report also discussed the factors believed to be behind the success of the group.

“All BTS members participate in the songwriting and composing, often writing from their own perspective the concerns of young adults in their teens and twenties, and listeners are able to sympathize with them regardless of their nationality,“ read the report. “BTS’s albums and concerts are also structured in a way that has a narrative, which helps attract the attention of fans and raise their expectations for upcoming albums and concerts as well.”

Other factors mentioned include active communication with BTS fans - known as ARMY - through social media and the fans’ strong support.

BTS is expected to produce an accumulated total of 41.8 trillion won in economic value between 2014 and 2023 if it maintains its average popularity level of the last five years.

“In order to maximize the economic impact of Hallyu [Korean wave], it’s necessary to develop and promote domestic tourism through dramas, movies and videos and raise demand from foreign tourists,” the report concluded.


BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]