- South Korea’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system could cost its entertainment industry.
- China is a top export market for them Korean television dramas and pop music.
- New Korean shows and Korean artist performances could be put on hold at least temporarily.
South Korea’s entertainment industry was rocked by news on Tuesday that China’s media watchdog is starting to restrict access to its markets in response to Seoul’s decision to deploy a missile defense system developed by the United States.
Shares in Korean entertainment companies fell Tuesday as speculation increased that China will target the Korean entertainment industry due to South Korean plan to deploy the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Areas Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.
SM Entertainment Co., known for such K-pop super-groups as Girls’ Generation, closed down 5.3 percent, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, YG Entertainment Corp., the company known for producing “Gangnam Style” superstar Psy, fell 8 percent.
Hallyu, or the Korean Wave of pop culture products, have long dominated East Asia and K-Pop stars and K-Dramas are popular in China. As such, China has become a primary export market for Korean cultural products.
On Monday People’s Daily warned in an editorial that Seoul’s policy to deploy the missile system would “draw fire against itself.”
The rumor is yet to be substantiated by any official channels, but The South China Morning Post (SCMP) cited two sources at local TV stations in Guangdong province as saying they had received orders from the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) that new approvals for TV programs featuring South Korean pop stars would not be granted in the near future.
“They told us to postpone any plans for new programs that involve South Korean stars or copyright for South Korean TV shows,” one of the sources told SCMP. “They said we would not get approval, even if we made such plans.”
The order was verbally passed on a few days ago by officials from SAPPRFT, SCMP reported.
Reports earlier this week claimed that Korean talent will not be allowed to appear in films, television dramas, musical concerts, variety shows, or advertisements in the immediate future. The restrictions will supposedly begin this month.
A report on news portal Sina.com on Monday that cited unidentified industry sources said SAPPRFT is inclined to limit South Korean artists in conducting entertainment activities in China, but noted it would fall short of a ban.
“Although it isn’t confirmed, there seems to be uncertainty among investors,” Hyun Choi, head of equities at Baring Asset Management Korea Ltd. in Seoul told Bloomberg.
“South Korean entertainment companies are mostly relying on businesses in China, and if they can’t do a large-scale concert or show, it would be a problem for them.”
However even if China regulates Korean content, movies jointly produced with Chinese companies probably won’t be affected as they’re considered local content, Lim Min Kyu, a Seoul-based analyst at Hyundai Securities Co, also told Bloomberg.
The Hallyu phenomenon has been so strong in China that delegates to the country’s political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress, have publicly complained of the outsized success of Korean pop cultural products and viewed the popularity of the Korean drama as a blow to Chinese confidence in their own culture.