The Hallyu Wave Floods China

by Brian Zhang T5

Did you know...

The meaning of the word "Hallyu" comes from the Chinese phrase "韩流 (han liu) " which means "Korean flow". The name was first used by Chinese journalist to explain how crazy the Chinese were for Korean Entertainment when it first came to China.

My Inspirations

As a person of Chinese descent and one who enjoys K-pop and K-dramas, I wanted to know more about how people in China have reacted, accepted, and have been influenced by Korean Culture. Also, after watching the immensely popular K-drama, You From the Stars, I soon learned that the drama was one of the most popular TV shows in China at the time. I was intrigued by how a country like China who once rejected foreign influences is now embracing it.

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Did you know...

Although many Korean pop stars have found fame in China, many Chinese people have also gone to Korea to become K-pop stars. In fact, Chinese K-pop stars make up the largest portion of non-Korean descent K-pop stars. Many of these artists have not only achieved fame in Korea but also in China such as F(x)'s Victoria, EXO's Kris, Lay, Tao and many more.
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Kris, Lay, and Tao; three Chinese K-pop stars who have achieved fame in both China and Korea.

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It's Begingings and the Lasting impact on China

The Korean Entertainment industry first found it’s way into China in 1992 when China decided to open its doors to South Korea. Shortly after they did so, a massive wave of South Korean media flooded into China. Soon, Korean dramas such as Winter Sonata and Jewel in the Palace became the latest crazes of the Chinese people. At the same time, first generation K-pop groups such as HOT and S.E.S. also found their way into China. In fact, HOT became so popular in China that they released music in China in 1998. At the time, most K-pop artist only focused on promotions in Korea, not in other countries so for HOT to release music in China means they must’ve had extreme big popularity in China. Other than causing a huge sensation in China, K-pop artists, and K-drama actors/actresses also altered Chinese beauty standards as they are known to all possess good looks. Because of them, Chinese people wanted to look like their idols which have led to beauty standards today usually revolving around double eyelids, small noses, v-shaped jawlines, and fair skin. With these beauty standards, many Chinese people who do not feel pretty enough have flocked to South Korea for cosmetic procedures. Additionally, many well known South Korean skin care brands such as Etude House, Innisfree, and the Face Shop have opened several stores in China.

Did you know..

Luhan, a popular Chinese K-pop star once touched a mailbox and now the mailbox has basically become a tourist attraction for his fans.

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Hundreds of Luhan's fan's wait patiently in line to get a picture with the mailbox he touched

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The Hallyu Wave Today

Besides its beginnings and impacts, South Korean entertainment to this day still remains a big part of Chinese media. Many K-pop groups such as EXO, T-ARA, Big Bang are some of the most popular musical artists in China. Drama’s such as The Heirs and My Love From Another Star have launched the actors/actresses in these dramas to become some of the most famous celebrities in China. It is because of their popularity that many Chinese singers choose to sing their songs on Chinese TV shows. For example, Zhang Bichen, the winner of popular Chinese singing competitions, The Voice of China, chose to cover the song My Destiny from the mega-popular K-Drama, My Love from Another Star. Similarly, Coco Lee sang Wonder Girls Nobody on I Am a Singer and Hwang Chiyeol, another competitor on the show did a cover of Big Bang’s Bang Bang Bang. Along with singing covers of Korean songs, many Chinese TV shows are inspired Korean shows such as I Am a Singer, Where Are We Going Dad?, and Running Brothers since they are all basically Chinese versions of Korean shows. From its first step into China to present day, the South Korean entertainment industry still continues to be one of the most influential foreign industries in China.

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Did you know...

The extremely popular Korean drama in China, My Love From Another Star, has become a major influence to many of its viewers. In fact, a woman was so obsessed with the drama that she broke up with her boyfriend since "he refused to buy her fried chicken in the middle of the night because he wasn’t as romantic as the show’s leading man."
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The main character enjoying the fried chicken that her boyfriend in the drama bought her.

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