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Rise of Korean Influence in India

Are you a member of the BTS Army? Do you spend your weekends bingeing on K-dramas? Well, you’re not alone. The Korean Wave has hit India harder than ever during the pandemic. Netflix has reported a 370% increase in the viewership of Kdramas in India in 2020. There have been many contributing factors to this rise of Korean influence in India. The Oscar-winning Korean film Parasite, increased penetration of Netflix with its bouquet of K-drama and Korean films and active collaboration of K-pop bands like BTS and Blackpink with the American music industry are a few prominent factors.

Korean Influence and Influencers

The Korean influence is not just limited to pop-culture. It has taken over the beauty and food space with K-beauty and Korean food also becoming popular. You can see its evidence in the influencer space with many influencers creating a niche for themselves with their expertise in Korean culture.

Scherezade Shroff’s YouTube Video

Popular influencer Scherezade Shroff got hooked to Kdramas during the beginning of pandemic. Today, her Sherry’s Kdrama Club has over 9000 members. But her love for Korea is not limited to just Kdramas. She is also a big promoter of Korean food and even had a Mukbang session with comedian Supriay Joshi.

Scherezade Shroff’s YouTube video featuring Supriya Joshi

Supriya has been following the Korean culture for a few years now. She is a self-proclaimed member of the Army (the term used for BTS fans). She had even attended a BTS concert a couple of years ago and documented it on Instagram

Supriya Joshi for KTO

She was a part of the Korean Tourism Org. India’s campaign – #KingdomFriendsIndia. In the campaign, she and other influencers like  Krutika (@themermaidscales) promoted Korean tourism through their love for K-drama and K-pop.

Brands and the Korean Influence

K-beauty has been another driver in the rise of the Korean influence. The demand for it rose over the last year. Therefore, we saw Korean brands like The Faceshop, Innisfree, Sulwhasoo enter the Indian market through e-commerce sites like Nykaa and Myntra. Brands like Ponds and Lakme have also tried to monetize the popularity of Korean beauty by releasing their own sheet masks which are native to Korean beauty. It’s not just big brands who have dived into Korean beauty market. Playback singer Chinmayi Sripada is one of the OG followers of Korean beauty. She used to try ginseng, snail slime and seaweed from Korean skin care much before its boom. 

Chinmayi Sripada’s Korean Beauty Brand – Isle of Skin

Today, she has her own e-store called Isle of Skin which sells Korean beauty products personally curated by her.

What does this mean for influencers?

The Korean influence is real and is bound to expand. This means, in the coming days, we can expect more Korean brands to enter the Indian market to cater to its ever growing audience. Streaming platforms like Netflix, MX Player and Amazon Prime are investing more on Korean content. Influencers, who have not already, should start getting acquainted with the Hallyu phenomenon as it is here to stay.

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