A Korean television drama is driving demand for imported beer in China.
In March, Korea’s beer exports to China grew to $1.04 million, a 201-percent increase from the previous year, because of the great popularity of My Love from the Star. Originally aired in Korea by the Seoul Broadcasting System, the show’s first season was recently broadcast on China, and has gained an enormous following on online TV services like iqiyi.com and LeTV.com.
My Love from the Star concerns a space alien who falls in love with a Korean actress (Jun Ji-hyun) who enjoys chimaek, a popular Korean snack of beer and fried chicken. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series “makes much of her personal tradition of eating the dish to celebrate the year’s first snowfall.”
The character’s eating habits are the source of the high Chinese demand for chimaek, and businesses are also responding accordingly. Breweries in Korea are now “aggressively targeting the Chinese market.” Beer connoisseurs in China can choose from a variety of Korean brands, including Hite Jinro’s new low-calorie beer with 3.5-percent alcohol content and OB Beer’s stronger 4.5-percent brew.
In February, the Wall Street Journal also reported that the show was also driving demand for fried chicken in Beijing. A vendor in the city’s Wangjing district told the Journal, “I have been doing fried chicken business for eight years, but this is the first time I’ve seen so many Chinese clients coming to order fried chicken with beer.”
image credit: alex williams