HALLYU - How Korea Captivated the World

HALLYU – How Korea Captivated the World

About 『HALLYU – How Korea Captivated the World』

“How Korea Captivate the World?”
The Korean Wave from K-pop to K-bio

HALLYU, a book filled with interesting and meaningful insights about Korea, the world’s most dynamic country, has been published.

‘Why is the world so enthusiastic about Korea?’ Authored by the head of Korea’s leading Maekyung Media Group, this book presents answers to this intriguing question, drawing upon vast data and experiences accumulated over a long career in journalism. The author shares his unique insights while highlighting Korea’s robust human resources and the diverse K-cultures and K-companies that have emerged from them. Despite its limited natural resources, Korea’s human capital is unmatched compared to other nations. HALLYU offers a thorough analysis of Korean culture and characteristics, revealing the underlying strength of the Republic of Korea. Through this book, readers can gain insights into Korea’s vibrant present and future, as depicted by one of the country’s most renowned journalists.

From the Publisher

Discovering Korea’s allure,
as a country of infinite opportunity and dynamic passion

The image of Korea, as perceived by people around the world, is a marvel in itself. Foreigners are often amazed by the civic consciousness of Koreans, exemplified by their reluctance to take wallets left unattended in cafes. For Koreans, enjoying a ‘public transportation system that incorporates IT technology’ and ‘easily accessible free Wi-Fi’ everywhere is a part of daily life, but to foreigners, these are nothing short of wonders.

This book thoroughly captures the unique allure of Korea, a charm unmatched anywhere else in the world. It showcases K-content and K-culture, including Korean dramas and music, as well as K-sports and K-companies. It also proudly highlights Korea’s resilience and strength during the pandemic that swept across the globe.

The Korean Wave That Has Become a Reference for the World!

HALLYU comprises five distinct parts. The first topic is ‘Korean life as seen through the eyes of foreigners.’ Part 1 explores K-food and the unique delivery culture, often featured in global social media’s ‘reaction videos,’ along with the world’s most advanced, fast, and comfortable wireless Internet environment, highly accessible Korean medical services, and public transportation integrated with IT technology.

Part 2 focuses on Koreans making their mark on the global stage. This section highlights the achievements of notable Koreans, including BTS and many others, who excel in various fields. It features sports stars like Son Heung-min and Kim Yuna; ‘time traveler’ pianist Lim Yun-chan; dance team Just Jerk; Lee Seung-hoon, known for his prowess in paper airplane flying competitions; and former Vietnam national soccer team coach Park Hang-seo. Additionally, it introduces ‘small giants’ such as Lee Jong-wook, WHO Tuberculosis Eradication Director; Philip Kim, a scientist contender for the Nobel Prize; and Fields Medal-winning mathematician Professor Huh June.

Part 3 delves into K-content products captivating the world, including Korean dramas, music, and webtoons. It also explores the creative content format ‘Webtoon,’ originating and gaining popularity in Korea; Taekwondo, a martial art loved globally; and the powerful K passport, which allows visa-free entry to 192 countries.

Part 4 illustrates Korea’s evolution from a recipient to a supporter of science and technology. Finally, Part 5 showcases Korean companies excelling in defense, automobile, battery, construction, and semiconductor industries around the world. This section highlights small yet mighty Korean companies, not widely known to the public, that lead the global market with unique technologies developed in challenging environments.

The Korean Conscience that Surprises Foreigners

Long known as a land of etiquette in the East, Korea is a country where belongings left unattended often remain untouched. This aspect of the Korean moral compass is seen as reliable human capital, earning global trust. Part 1 of the book recounts an anecdote from the TV entertainment program “Hankook Saram” involving a hidden camera experiment. In the experiment, a wallet left on an empty table for about four hours was largely ignored by customers, even those sitting right next to it. Eventually, a male customer picked up the wallet, but only to hand it in at the counter. Non-Korean guests on the show were surprised by the locals’ disinterest in the unclaimed wallet. While this behavior might be routine for Koreans, the episode’s demonstration of ‘Korean Conscience’ left a deep impression on foreigners.

The Power of K-content Recognized Worldwide

A range of content products, utilizing the intellectual property (IP) of Korean music, movies, dramas, webtoons, and games, are creating a global buzz. Dramas and movies based on webtoons are becoming box office hits, indicating that Korean webtoons are emerging as a new pillar of the Korean Wave, following K-pop. With the rise of global OTT (online video streaming services) platforms like Netflix, which have transcended borders, various Korean content including dramas, movies, entertainment shows, and animation, are captivating audiences worldwide. Part 3 of the book delves into the power of K-content, highlighted by Netflix’s $2.5 billion investment promise.

The Reason ‘K’ is Included in the Name of Vietnam Science and Technology Research Institute

Part 4 introduces the story behind the establishment of the Vietnamese version of KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology). Established in 1968 as Korea’s first comprehensive science and technology research institute with $10 million received from the U.S. government in exchange for sending Korean troops to the Vietnam War, KIST is synonymous with the history of Korean scientific and technological development. It has played a pivotal role in achieving immediate commercialization in applied science. Vietnam, which has grown increasingly interested in Korea, particularly through the achievements of coach Park Hang-seo, plans to establish a research institute comparable to KIST, acknowledging its significant influence on Korea’s development. This symbolizes a reversal of roles, with Korea, once an aid recipient, now aiding another country. The institute was named V-KIST at the request of the Vietnamese government, marking the only instance where a country’s comprehensive research institute includes a letter from another country’s name. This makes V-KIST especially meaningful to Korea.

I frequently have the opportunity to travel abroad on business. There’s a common theme that emerges from my interactions with foreign scholars: the wonder of Korea.

“Korea boasts incredibly strong consumer brands. The popularity of K-pop is also immense among young people. Korea is firmly establishing itself as a dynamic, innovative, and highly intriguing country.”

My fervent hope is that the Republic of Korea will continue to be recognized as a ‘miracle country’ and be a source of pride, both to ourselves and to people around the world.

Excerpts from Preface

The Korean Wave is making a splash on the global stage. Virtually everything from Korea is being introduced to the world with the prefix ‘K’, and countless foreigners are becoming fans of Korean content. Do you think the reaction from people around the world is exaggerated or merely a fleeting trend? The answer is no. The influence of Korea is not only special but also enduring. I hope that through this book, HALLYU, there will be numerous opportunities to accurately showcase the ‘power of the Republic of Korea’ to the world.

Table of Contents

  • Preface


  • Koreans Don’t Take Unattended Wallets
  • K-food Extravaganza
  • Deliveries at The Speed of Light
  • Jeonse, Korea’s Unique Housing Solution That Even Angelina Jolie has Used
  • Fast Wi-fi Everywhere!
  • K-medical Service Wins the Hearts of Foreigners
  • Korea: The World’s Fastest Aging Country
  • Getting Around Smartly with Korea’s Public Transportation


  • Korean Leaders at International Organizations
  • From a Sports Periphery to a Powerhouse
  • Riding the Korean Wave With BTS, B-boys, Dancers, and Musicians
  • Did We Miss the Nobel Prize? Fear Not, We Have the Fields Medal!
  • Koreans Featured in Time Magazine


  • From Squid Game to The Glory, K-Content Captivates Viewers Worldwide
  • K-Content: Soft Power Superstar
  • Getting to 64.3B K-pop Content Views
  • Blackpink Boasts the Most YouTube Subscribers Among Artists Worldwide
  • Korea: The Birthplace of Webtoons
  • A Nation that Distinguishes Itself in Global Sports
  • Taekwondo: From Korea’s National Sport to a Global Phenomenon
  • The Power of the Korean Passport: Visa-free Entry to 192 Countries
  • Overseas Koreans Agency Supports 7.32M Korean Expats
  • [Take a break] 10 Reasons Why Korea is an Attractive Destination


  • From Aid Beneficiary to Science and Technology Benefactor
  • K-Power on Display at the Olympiad
  • Went to Catch Fish, Ended Up Building an Antarctic Science Base
  • Korea Poised to Become a Space Powerhouse
  • Powering Korea Via Nuclear Plants
  • Waiting for a Nobel Prize


  • Small Korean Companies That Conquered Global Niche Markets Worldwide
  • The Authority of Korean-Made Semiconductors
  • Korean Cars: Come So Far, Got so Far to Go
  • From a Clunker to a Luxury Car
  • One Out of Two Electric Vehicles Worldwide Uses a Korea-Made Battery
  • Korea’s Defense Industry: Largest Arms Export Since the Nation’s Founding
  • The First Korean President to be Invited to the NATO Summit
  • A Country That Owns the A380 Super-large Passenger Aircraft
  • Korean Construction Companies Building Landmarks in the Middle East and Asia
  • Korean Bio Industry Joins the Ranks of Big Pharma
  • Not an Oil-Producing Country, but the World’s Largest Exporter of Petroleum Products

About the Author

Chang Dae-whan

Chang Dae-whan

Chang Dae-whan is the head of Maekyung Media Group, a leading media company in Korea. Maekyung Media Group encompasses the Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea’s largest paid-circulation economic newspaper; MBN, a broadcasting network; Maekyung Economy, a weekly magazine; Luxman, a monthly magazine; Maekyung Internet, an online news channel; and Maekyung Publishing, a book publishing company.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester in 1973, a master’s degree in international politics from George Washington University in 1976, and both a master’s and doctoral degree in international business administration from New York University in 1987. He served as Prime Minister of Korea in 2002, Chairman of the Korea Newspaper Association from 2005 to 2010, and Chairman of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts from 2008 to 2011.

In January 1993, he became the first Korean selected as a next-generation leader by the World Economic Forum, and has presenting national agendas at the Vision Korea National Reporting Conference since 1997, as well as leading global knowledge sharing as Executive Chairman of the World Knowledge Forum for 20 years.

He has written and translated numerous books, including The Republic of Korea We Don’t Know, International Business Negotiations, Forecast for the 21st Century (editor), New Product Millennium (co-author), Knowledge Driver, and One Asia Momentum.


Social media has also played a significant role in this phenomenon. As a platform where unique content attracts viewers’ attention, videos showcasing relatively unfamiliar aspects of Korean food culture have garnered interest. Many social media users developed an interest in Korean food through word of mouth from individuals who initially tried Korean food for fun but then acquired a taste for it. Curiosity about Korean food culture, as depicted in videos featuring Korean pop stars, Korean movies, and Korean dramas, has also contributed to the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine. Notable examples include “Chapaguri,” a ramen dish created by mixing Chapagetti (instant black bean noodles) and Neoguri (instant udon noodles), which was featured in the film “Parasite” (2019)—the first Korean film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture—as well as the lunch boxes and dalgona coffee featured in “Squid Game” (2021), a Korean drama series that gained global popularity on Netflix. Following the U.S. release of “Parasite,” the number of Amazon and Walmart reviews for Chapagetti and Neoguri doubled compared to before. Other common Korean dishes such as tteokbokki, kimbap, and hotteok also received attention after videos of BTS members enjoying the treats went viral.


On May 24, 2006, at 12:30 p.m., the Notre Dame Cathedral near Geneva Central Station in Switzerland buzzed with activity. activity, with over 1,000 people gathered for a funeral mass. The service was in memory of a Korean: Lee Jong-wook, the former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), who served in the position for three years. Among the vast assembly paying their respects were leaders of international organizations affiliated with the United Nations, representatives from health ministries of various countries, and diplomatic envoys.

Condolences flooded in globally, and the WHO staff’s mourning echoed through the hallowed halls of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Even North Korea, typically adversarial towards South Korea, displayed an unexpected response. North Korean Ambassador Ri Chol remarked, “He was a man of integrity, embodying the morals and faith of the Korean people and held in high regard within the diplomatic community in Geneva,” adding, “He always treated our staff with human decency.” Upon learning of the passing of Lee, often referred to as Asia’s Schweitzer, a man of action, and the “vaccine emperor,” then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan lamented, “Today, the world has lost a great man.”


While it may sound hyperbolic, there is a humorous saying circulating among foreigners: “If you want to marry a Korean woman, you must first defeat her father in a StarCraft match.” The jest underscores the deep-rooted popularity of e-sports in Korea, spanning various demographics. Over the past two decades, Korea has consistently clinched titles in major e-sports Chase Center in San Francisco, USA, the venue for theLeague of Legends World Championship 2022 finals championships, ranging from ‘StarCraft’ to ‘Warcraft’, ‘League of Legends’, and ‘Overwatch’. In Korea, being a professional gamer is seen as a lucrative and prestigious career promising wealth, fame, and gratification. Dubbed the ‘nation of e-sports’, an astounding 500 million e-sports enthusiasts globally root for Korean players and their awe-inspiring skills.

from PART 3 The Power of Culture

It is plausible to argue that the United States—the preeminent global power with unparalleled access to information—would not be oblivious to the negative aspects of the Korean education system. Nonetheless, Obama’s emphasis was likely on the fact that education lies at the heart of Korea’s meteoric rise from one of the world’s most impoverished nations to a top-10 global economy within a mere fifty years.

His motivation could also stem from the observation that American elementary, middle, and high school students’ mathematics and science scores not only trailed those of Korean students in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), but also ranked near the bottom among developed nations. He might have had an aspiration to emulate Korea’s educational dedication, given the pressing need for educational reform in the United States. to uphold its stature as the world’s dominant power. This naturally leads to the question: just how proficient are Korean students?


“Sorry, Elon Musk, Hyundai Is Quietly Dominating the EV Race”

That was the rather provocative headline of a Bloomberg article published on June 26, 2022 that highlighted Hyundai’s elevated status in the electric vehicle (EV) era. Just five days before the Bloomberg article’s publication, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged Hyundai’s performance. He tweeted a photo indicating that in the first quarter of 2022, Hyundai and Kia captured a 9% share of the U.S. electric vehicle market—more than doubling the shares of Volkswagen at 4.6% and Ford at 4.5%. Musk’s accompanying remark, “Hyundai is doing pretty well,” suggests he recognizes the competition from the Korean automaker.


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