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Global 'hallyu' fans swell to 35 million in 86 countries

All News 11:14 January 26, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- The number of global fans for the Korean culture "hallyu" have exceeded 35 million in 86 countries, a government-affiliated foundation said Tuesday.

As Korean wave becomes global, the number of enthusiastic fans for Korean culture and food last year increased 63 percent to be 35.59 million over the previous year's number of 21.82 million, according to global hallyu data 2015 published by the Korea Foundation (KF).

The growing popularity of hallyu, which had initially started in Asian countries, has been now making rapid inroads into other parts of the globe in recent years.

Also, the number of hallyu fan clubs rose to 1,493 last year in 86 countries, a 21 percent up from the previous year's 1,229.

KF, the subsidiary of the foreign ministry said the data was published through a survey of the K-pop situations around the world, helped by the foreign ministry and Korean diplomatic missions abroad.

The hallyu boom last year focused on the K-pop music and Korean cuisines in some countries, but specifically, the K-pop craze has expanded to Korean Web dramas and the Korean style of hiphop, called "K-hiphop."

According to a KF official, the new hallyu boom is now led by the Korean Web dramas, coupled with the K-hiphop, broadening the base for the Korean culture industries.

As the K-hiphop was so popular recently, tickets for Korean rappers were even sold out in many performances in the United States and Europe, the official said.

The biggest number of fans lived in Asia and Oceania with 26.20 million; followed by America with 7.58 million; Europe, 1.63 million; and Africa and the Middle East, 170,000.

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