| K-beauty, which refers to Korean make-up and hairstyle, is gaining popularity overseas. On YouTube, videos introducing the unique make-up skills of K-pop stars have received millions of hits, including those of Tae-yeon of Girls` Generation, Hyun-ah of 4Minute, IU, Suji of Miss A and Boa. Google Korea plans to launch make-up lectures by K-pop stars. Korean cosmetics are selling like hotcakes abroad, with cosmetics exports reaching 440 million U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, up 16.2 percent year-on-year.
Worldwide interest in K-beauty is thanks to the K-pop boom. Billboard launched the "K-pop chart," the second of its kind in Asia following the Japan chart. Google introduced in May the "K-pop hub," where Korean stars can communicate with their fans around the globe. eBay also has a K-pop corner. Singer Psy`s "Gangnam Style" music video was featured on CNN and the Huffington Post. All of these show the constantly expanding popularity of K-pop.
K-pop is a cultural phenomenon that has high industrial value. Exports of Korean music and videos rose 11.4 percent year-on-year in this year`s first half to a record 150 billion won (133 million dollars). For every 100 dollars of cultural product exports, shipments of electronics and communications products including mobile phones and home electronics increase 395 dollars. Korean fashion companies including Cheil Industries and E-land are collaborating with YG Entertainment and SM Entertainment to make inroads into China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Helped by the Korean Wave, more foreigners are visiting Korea. The country`s service sector account is thus expected to post a surplus this year for the first time in 14 years.
In 1996, the U.K. launched "Cool Britannica," a movement to foster creativity-oriented industries such as culture, arts and entertainment, as national strategic industries. The culture industry is a key source of service jobs that young people prefer. The Korean Wave should be nurtured as a economic growth engine for more job creation. K-beauty, a derivative industry of the Korean Wave, will also result in considerable effects. Samsung Economic Research Institute`s national brand survey last year showed that Korea`s image ranking was 19th, below the substance ranking of 15th. The Korean Wave should be taken advantage of to help raise Korea`s undervalued national brand image.