‘Uncontrollably Fond’ tugs at Chinese heartstrings

August 9, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) — A Korean romance drama featuring two of the country’s hottest stars has been watched nearly 800 million times in China in an indication of its growing popularity, officials said Tuesday.

“Uncontrollably Fond,” a KBS TV series that airs simultaneously in South Korea and China on Wednesdays and Thursdays, has collected some 776 million views on the Chinese video sharing platform Youku since its first broadcast on July 6, according to the officials involved in its production.

“Out of all the Korean dramas that were broadcast through Youku, ‘Pinocchio’ was the most popular with some 1.4 billion views by its 20th episode, but at this rate, ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ will probably do better,” one official said on the condition of anonymity.

Stills from "Uncontrollably Fond"

Stills from “Uncontrollably Fond”

The romance stars Kim Woo-bin as an arrogant singer-actor who falls terminally ill before fate brings him face to face with his high school sweetheart and documentary producer No Eul, played by Bae Suzy.

The 20-part series is now 10 episodes in.

“Now that it’s past its halfway point, the drama’s plot will gain pace and become more intriguing,” the official added.

Kim and Bae were scheduled to hold a fan meeting in China on Saturday, but Youku abruptly called off the event three days prior. The drama’s production company, Samhwa Networks, said it has not received notice of any future arrangements, adding the “situation does not look good.”

Rumors have circulated that China is boycotting the South Korean entertainment industry to retaliate for Seoul’s decision to place a controversial antimissile defense system on its soil.

It remains unclear whether there are links between the canceled fan meeting and the political row, but sources say the two appear to be unrelated.