SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- The government Tuesday estimated the number of overseas fans of Korean pop culture at 3.3 million, indicating the "Korean Wave," also known as the "hallyu," is a significant force in many Asian, European and American countries.
There were an estimated 182 hallyu fan clubs with a combined 3.3 million members in some 20 regions where a South Korean government-run Korean Cultural Center is located, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports said in a release.
The estimation is based on a survey recently conducted by the Korean Culture and Information Service that runs the cultural centers, the ministry said, adding that numbers could rise when non-official fan clubs are combined.
Asia had the largest number of fans -- 2.31 million in eight regions such as Japan, China and Vietnam. There were about 500,000 fans in four South and North American regions such as Washington D.C., New York City and Argentina and 460,000 in seven European areas, including Britain, France and Turkey, the survey showed.
Most of the 182 fan clubs, or 115, were related with K-pop singers with others supporting Korean actors and actresses as well as TV dramas and films, it said.
"Overseas fan clubs of Korean pop stars are playing a 'flying column' role in spreading the boom of Korean pop culture. Rather than being simple consumers, they're organizing Korean culture festivals," a ministry official said.
"On the occasion of the release of this survey, we will make further efforts to disseminate the boom so it can draw attention, even to traditional Korean culture."
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