Glocalization of hallyu

2013-06-05 17:21

Glocalization of hallyu

By Shim Jae-yun

Psy seems to have largely failed this time, despite his flamboyant remark over the possible repeat of his success in the United States, following his release of the sensation “Gangnam Style.” “Gentlemen” lagged far behind at 46th on the Billboard Chart as of May 31, compared to the fifth rank on May 4. This is a sharp dip from the second place registered by his previous hit “Gangnam Style.” The rapper’s sluggish performance had been expected in many senses, given among others more explicit sexuality despite lingering charms in terms of fun and easiness. K-pop has managed to attract global fans mainly thanks to the purity and cuteness of the girl group members, albeit their sexiness. Their sexual appeal was a sort of teasing in stark comparison with the open nudity seen on most show stages in many other western countries. The Psy case leaves many implications regarding hallyu, or Korean wave. The party scene at the recent movie “The Great Gatsby” shows free-for-all, open and even binge drinking culture in the era of prospering capitalism in the 1920s. Likewise, the party culture has continued to develop to the extent of the people seeking extreme pleasure even relying on drugs. But in contrast, the nation has remained relatively removed from such extravagant party culture under the influence of Confucianism.

Daejangeum or “Jewel in Palace” once hit the viewing rate of 85 percent in Iran and some other Islamic nations. The people in Middle East like the drama given the similar cultural codes – strict attire for women in the palace and the tradition of worshipping kings, for instance.

Hallyu first sprouted in 1997 in China prompted by the advancement of Korean drama “What is love” (Sarangimweogillae) in the nation and evolved into the current K-pop ushering in the new millennium. Now there is conflicting views on the future of hallyu. Some present ominous prospect citing a recent survey which shows about 66 percent of more than 3,000 polls around the world believes the hallyu phenomenon will dissipate in the next four years.

But some maintain a positive viewpoint, citing the popularity of K-pop stars mainly in Asia including Singapore, in particular.

The possible spreading of hallyu seems to hinge on the development of what we call K-culture, comprising of Korea’s traditional value and culture as well as the currently popular food, beauty (plastic surgery), and so on.

What made hallyu popular in many nations around the world is that it lacks haughty and arrogant elements seen in nationalist states in their bids to make inroads into less developed countries. The fact that Korea is a middle-power nation unlike gigantic ones like the U.S., China, and Japan facilitates its bid to advance in other countries more easily without arousing hostile sentiment.

For any company to make success in overseas markets, it needs to pursue the so-called “glocalization,” a coinage of globalization and localization. They need to adopt marketing measures fit for the local consumers closely reading their habits and tastes of selecting and purchasing goods while pursuing a highly global standard of marketing tactics.

The same tactic can be applied to hallyu. Excessive government intervention or ‘‘coercive” measures to spread the phenomenon will only worsen hostile attitude toward the Korean wave. It is time to ponder about the “glocalization” of hallyu to guarantee its sustainable growth as a real global phenomenon.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: