South Korea's cultural content surplus plunged 25.4 percent in the first five months of 2017 from a year earlier, official data showed Tuesday, a decline widely blamed on Chinese restrictions on imports of local pop culture over an ongoing missile row.
The balance of audio visual and related services came to $156.6 million in the black in the January-May period down from $209.8 million for the period last year, according to the data compiled by the Bank of Korea.
For the whole of last year, the balance of audio visual and related services stood at $510.3, the first time that the balance has surpassed the $500 million mark. It was a dramatic turnaround from a deficit of $3.8 million in 2013.
|A scene from the culminated K-drama, "Guardian." (tvN)|
Recent gains are the result of South Korean TV shows, films and pop music gaining wide popularity in China, Southeast Asian countries and other countries.
K-pop and its broader Korean Wave have struck a chord with young people around the world in recent years, burnishing South Korea's image as a trendsetting country home to "Gangnam Style," South Korean rapper Psy's mega-hit song.
Still, the surplus of the balance of audio visual and related services has been on the decline in recent months following Chinese economic retaliations against Seoul over the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system in South Korea.
China -- South Korea's largest trading partner -- has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages to South Korea.
Seoul and Washington said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is only meant to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats. But China has repeatedly pressed South Korea to withdraw the THAAD missiles out of concern that the deployment could hurt Beijing's security interests. (Yonhap)