America tops the list with 464 ‘Hallyu’ fan clubs

January 9, 2014

The biggest fan growth is in Africa and the Middle East, according to Korea Foundation 

By Park Jin-hai

K-pop fans from Spain and Poland / Korea Times file

K-pop fans from Spain and Poland / Korea Times file

K-pop fans in Peru. / Korea Times file

K-pop fans in Peru. / Korea Times file

“Hallyu” or the Korean wave is up and running despite some concerns to the contrary, with its global fan base close to 10 million.

According to Global Hallyu Data 2013, published Wednesday by the Korea Foundation (KF), the number of fans has reached 9.3 million, with fan clubs close to 1,000.

This is an increase over the 6.7 million fans and some 783 fan clubs recorded in the previous year.

“It is the latest and largest survey on the global scene. It is meaningful that the data not only provides the current trend for hallyu, but includes detailed and comprehensive information on the phenomenon,” said KF President Yu Hyun-seok.

The biggest number of fans lived in Asia and Oceania with 6.8 million; followed by America with 1.25 million; Europe, 1.17 million; and Africa and the Middle East, 60,000.

As for fan clubs, America topped the list with 464; followed by Asia and Oceania with 234; Europe, 213; and Africa, 76.

The biggest growth was in Africa and the Middle East where the number of fans increased three-fold to 60,000, while fan clubs almost doubled to 76 from 36. By country, Tunisia had the most fan clubs with 25 followed by Egypt, Morocco and Israel.

“Fan clubs mostly focus on K-pop. Some of them are really active enough to organize K-pop cover dance competitions on their own,” said a KF official. “But, what is noteworthy is that there are social clubs that study other parts of Korean culture, like food and touring.”

In Europe also, fans grew by 820,000 and the number of clubs rose to 213 from 142.

The data, compiled with the cooperation of Korean embassies and consulates in 98 countries, surveyed the number of fans and fan clubs by continent as well as related data including fan club websites and a country-specific analysis.