China’s Internet users have kept up their interest in Korean content, though the Chinese government has prohibited all hallyu content in the country and banned Korean stars from appearing on Chinese TV shows.
According to Cafe24, a global e-commerce platform, on January 10, its research of Baidu index, provided by China’s biggest portal of the same name, indicated that content searches for Korean cultural products did not show a significant drop between August and the end of last year at the moment when China banned on hallyu content. Baidu index measures the frequency of specific searches by portal users.
The monthly Baidu index said searches for “Korean dramas” fell to between 21,000 to 23,000 points in the second quarter last year from 30,000 points in the preceding quarter, but picked up to between 28,000 and 29,000 points in the third quarter. It rose to 28,642 points in December from 21,610 points in November.
The annual average Baidu index for Korean dramas was 26,207 points, much higher than 14,653 points for American competitors and 4,909 points for dramas from Japan.
The index last year for Korean movies reached an annual average of 34,727 points, compared to 2,247 points for American films and 10,428 points for Japanese movies.
The monthly average index for Korean movies rose from 27,453 points in January to 37,190 points in March. It surged to as high as 43,983 points in May and maintained the 3,000 points-level until October. It dropped to 24,979 points in November but rebounded to 41,973 points in December. “Train to Busan” topped the list for Korean movies with 672,533 points.
Chinese still show interest in hallyu content. However, industry sources express concerns that the related industry can be hard hit when the Chinese government keeps its anti-hallyu measures for the long haul. Park Sung-hyun, an adjunct researcher at the Hallyu Convergence Research Institute of Korea University, said, “Hallyu will not let up in China in a short period of time, but the problem that new content can no longer appear like hallyu in Japan in the past can come up.”