What The Surge In Apple Watch Popularity Says About Our Culture
In Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka, Korean dramas began to increasingly take up airtime on TV channels in these countries with Winter Sonata and Full House credited to igniting the interest in Korean pop culture in these countries. Korean fashion and hairstyles became trendy amongst youth in Nepal and led to a Korean language course boom in the country which has persisted to today. Korean cuisine experienced a surge of popularity in Nepal with more Korean eateries opening in the country throughout the early to mid 2000s. Similarly, Korean cuisine also became popular in Sri Lanka and Bhutan with Korean restaurants opening to satisfy the demand in these countries.
What the surge in Apple Watch popularity says about our culture
According to a 2011 survey conducted by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the total number of active members of Hallyu fan clubs worldwide was estimated at 3.3 million, based on statistics published by official fan clubs in regions where there are Korean Cultural Centers. In the same year, the Korea Tourism Organization surveyed 12,085 fans of Hallyu and concluded that most fans were young adults, over 90% were female, and most were fans of K-pop. According to the Korea Foundation, in 2018 there were about 89 million fans of 'hallyu' around the world, and 1,843 fan clubs. The number of fans grew by 22% from the year before, which is largely attributed to the growing popularity of boy band BTS. As of December 2019, there were 1,799 Hallyu fan clubs with 99.32 million fans, leading by K-pop followed by Korean dramas. According to The Korea Foundation, fans were based in Asia and Oceania at around 72 million, followed by 15 million in Europe and 12 million in the Americas. As of September 2020, in 98 countries there are 1,835 fan clubs and a total of 104 million members as per data from the Korea Foundation. During COVID-19 pandemic, the Korean Wave expanded to Africa, Europe and West Asia while the US saw a 30% jump in fan base from 2019 which now stands at 15.8 million. There is also decline mainly in China and Japan. Korean popular culture is now recognized in 109 countries due to Academy Award-winning movie, Parasite. Europe saw a 25% increase in fans from 15 million to 18.8 million. Africa and West Asia account for 1.19 million fans. From 270,000 in 2020 to 15 million in 2021 as per Facebook Analytics, the number of Hallyu fans increased by 54 times in India, making it the sixth largest K-pop market in the world.
The hanryu or kanryu wave in Japan is marked by the popularity of Korean TV series Winter Sonata in 2003 but likely emerged earlier with travel trends, food culture, the beauty industry, and the joint hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2002. Korean actor Bae Yong-joon, also known in Japan a Yon-sama, was the early face of the wave, generating an economic burst as Japanese viewers rushed to buy the DVD of Winter Sonata, along with DVD players and related accessories. Early reporting of the popularity of Yon-sama included derogatory remarks about his female fan base in Japan, labeling them as sex-deprived "hags." However, the buying power of the Yon-sama fan base could not be ignored. Winter Sonata-themed beverages, foods, accessories, beauty products, and more sold out in Japan. Other Korean TV series soon followed, such as Jewel in the Palace. The Japanese fan base easily recognized and connected historical Chinese elements present in the shows, such as calligraphy, and imperial court intrigues. Japanese women also connected to the comforting, communicative character played by Yon-sama. Since the arrival of the Korean wave, Korean cuisine and products have increased in Japan. Shin-Okubo Station in Tokyo, known for its Korean neighborhood, has since become featured in Japanese tourist brochures.
The popularity of the Korean wave since 2010 began to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and South Korea. Since then South Korean export of K-pop, K-drama and other pop culture merchandise to Bangladesh have increased. Although Psy's 2012 released music video "Gangnam Style" was the most recognizable K-pop song in Bangladesh there were fans of the genre even before who knew about groups such as Super Junior.
In the last decade, there's been a surge of popularity in wearable technology, including activity trackers, smartwatches, and smart clothing. Both consumers and companies are beginning to use various devices for a variety of applications. With no sign of slowing down and a growing impact on society, it's important to consider the pros and cons of wearables.