Foreigners consider South Korea as a country with cutting-edge technology, but only a small portion of them are aware of Korean pop culture, known as hallyu, a survey showed Friday.
According to the survey, the respondents most frequently come up with technology after being asked to present the word that first pops up in their mind when thinking of South Korea.
The name of the leading mobile phone maker, Samsung, came in second, followed by war and Psy, a South Korean rapper whose dance music video, "Gangnam Style," hit the global stage.
The foreign ministry-commissioned survey was conducted by the consulting firm Samgjong KPMG from October to November on about
6,000 adults in 17 foreign countries, including India, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Turkey and Poland as well as member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Four major powers -- the United States,
China, Japan and Russia -- were not included in the survey.
Despite the growing international popularity of South Korean TV dramas, pop songs and films, South Korea claims only a modest level of recognition among the surveyed countries, the survey showed.
Further, South Korea scored only 3.03 points on a 5-point scale which measures respondents' level of recognition and favorability.
The survey also noted that 30.2 percent of the respondents cannot easily distinguish between South and North Korea. The tendency was more pronounced in Egypt, where 52.2 percent said they don't know the difference between the two countries.
South Korea appears to be more well known for its economy than for its politics or popular culture, the survey also showed.
Slightly more than half of the respondents also expected South Korea to play a mediating role between developing and advanced nations, it also noted.
The consulting firm said in its recommendation that "diplomatic activities are badly needed to improve South Korea's national image among the surveyed countries' people." South Korea needs to devise a plan to penetrate into regional centers like Egypt in the Middle East or South Africa in the African region in order to increase its public diplomacy activities there, the firm said. (Yonhap)