The Korea Herald


Hallyu fans number 178 million in 2022

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : March 10, 2023 - 14:54

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A graph shows the rise in the number of Hallyu fans (top) alongside the number of fan clubs (bottom) from 2014 to 2022. (Korea Foundation) A graph shows the rise in the number of Hallyu fans (top) alongside the number of fan clubs (bottom) from 2014 to 2022. (Korea Foundation)

The number of active Hallyu fans around the world reached 178 million in 2022, according to an annual report published by the Korea Foundation in cooperation with overseas missions, Friday.

The figure is about an 18-fold increase from 9.26 million in 2012, when the Korea Foundation’s survey was launched. In comparison, the population of Hallyu fans at 178 million would place it as the eighth-largest country in the world, just bigger than Bangladesh while trailing Brazil.

The general report, “2022 Global Hallyu Status,” the 11th of its kind, analyzes the Korean Wave around the world. A total of 118 countries were surveyed for the latest report by 149 Korean diplomatic missions in the fields of broadcasting, film, K-pop, food, language, beauty and sports. The report identified fan clubs and their membership numbers through such methods of looking at their social media accounts and followers or subscribers.

By continent, most Hallyu fans lived in Asia and Oceania, with 73.4 percent of all Hallyu fans in that region. China counted 84.3 million fans, while Thailand sat at 16.8 million and Vietnam saw 13.3 million.

Europe showed the greatest growth in fandom size compared to the previous year. There were about 13.2 million Hallyu fans there -- a 37 percent increase from 2021's number.

The main factors behind the growth of Hallyu were seen as the success of Korean video content on global platforms and the increase in the number of Korean Wave fan clubs. The number of Hallyu fan clubs stood at 1,684, a 120 percent increase from 757 in 2012. The Korea Foundation said the clubs have resumed offline activities that were suspended during the pandemic.

Reasons contributing to interest in Korean culture include K-pop’s catchy melodies, creative choreography and messages behind the lyrics. Other factors included Hallyu's perceived trendy style, economic and cultural development model and an emphasis on etiquette and family.

The full report is available through the Korea Foundation’s official website. Previous reports are also available.