Fallout of THAAD affects S. Korean entertainment industry

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 5, 2016
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The widespread rumor that China's media watchdog will ban K-pop and K-dramas may have an impact on S. Korea's entertainment industry in response to South Korea's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

China's biggest streaming site Youku announced on its Weibo account that the fans' meet-and-greet with S. Korean stars Kim Woo-Bin and Suzy Bae event, scheduled for the TV drama "Uncontrollably Fond" on Aug. 6, has been delayed for reasons of "force majeure." [Photo / Sina Weibo]

Youku, China's biggest streaming site, has announced on Wednesday that the fans' meet-and-greet with S. Korean stars Kim Woo-Bin and Suzy Bae event, scheduled for the TV drama "Uncontrollably Fond" on Aug. 6, has been delayed for reasons of "force majeure."

What's more, boy band EXO's Shanghai concert is rumored to be cancelled. The producers of the movie "Never Said Goodbye" announced there are some visa problems with one of the cast members, South Korean star Lee Joon-Gi, so Lee may miss out the premiere on Aug. 7. Even the insanely popular South Korean TV series "W," which China's Tencent is licensed to broadcast online, now faces the danger of not passing the censorship.

All the above mentioned scenarios seemly indicate that the rumor might be true. Since the beginning of August, rumor has it that the State Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) will ban or contain South Korean stars' activities in China for a certain period of time, which will involve their TV shows, films, television series and more. Those that pass the examination and censorship will not be affected, but new ones will encounter problems. The rumor also said the SAPPRFT's decision will be effective in August.

But there is still not proof yet that the ban really exists, and there is no written notification from the Chinese government. An industry insider said if the rumor is true, the new rule must be triggered by THAAD, "but I think this is temporary."

If there's any truth in the rumor, the South Korean entertainment industry will take a big blow as China is the country's largest entertainment market.

Shares in YG Entertainment nosedived at Tuesday's close, the lowest in 52 weeks. SM Entertainment began to fall from early July to a 52-week low on Tuesday. Other major entertainment shares, including CJ Corporation and JYP Entertainment, also slipped. In the past three days, the four major South Korean entertainment enterprises have lost a combined 361.5 billion won (US$325 million) on the stock market.

But if China really issued any ban, it would backfire. China's cultural enterprises invested about US$2.7 billion into Korean gaming, online platforms, TV, films and artist management from 2010 to 2015. More and more China-South Korea collaborations were initiated while more and more Korean artists came to China for a wider market, where they have a large following of fans.

China has strongly and resolutely opposed the THAAD deployment as it damages the national security of China and breaks the strategic balance in the region.


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