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Descended From the Sun adds jolt to the Korean economy

The recent hit medical-military drama Descended From the Sun, starring Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-gyo, has caused an explosion of economic growth. According to a report by the foreign economic research department of the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Descended is estimated to generate a whopping 1 trillion KRW increase in revenue. In addition to the profits gained from exporting the drama overseas, there are huge indirect benefits such as tourism increase, global country branding, ad marketing consumption, and job growth.

Currently, the drama is being exported to China (for roughly $4 million USD), Japan ($1.6 million USD) as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Furthermore, the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, and other European nations have also imported Descended for a total of 32 countries that are now viewing the show. So far, the revenue created from just selling the show is nearly 7 billion KRW.

MBC’s Dae Jang Geum still holds the greatest export record for a cultural commodity, at 87 countries and 13 billion KRW. Keeping that in mind, Descended is expected to reach at least 10 billion KRW.

However, it’s the indirect ripple effect that’s generating the big bucks. Descended has contributed to an overall increase in Hallyu tourism and the consumption of drama-related domestic goods, such as cars. If past data regarding Hallyu tourism from big hits like Dae Jang Geum and You from Another Star holds true, then one tourist creates a cash flow of 1.25 million KRW per visit.

Altogether, boosted tourism and car sales will produce an estimated 300 billion KRW. Moreover, economic activity associated with increased domestic goods production including international marketing will approximately yield 600 billion KRW. Taking everything into consideration, the total direct and indirect income generated by Descended From the Sun is expected to be around 1 trillion KRW.

No big deal. Just another way that dramas make the world better.

Via Xports News

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Haha it's true I was just in Korea and it's so huge it's almost funny

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It really was! I was just there last week and saw phone cases in Hongdae with DotS on them. This was just as the last episode was airing!

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Though personally it was too cheesy for me to watch I'm happy to hear it's helping the economy and has renewed interest worldwide. Love Song Joong Ki!

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It's kinda weird how a mere drama could do all that it's so unbelievable, " Kdrama Land effect"

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Agree. $_$

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Wow..just ....wow

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I mean, good news! but I still don't understand WHY...

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Right!? Its not like it was amazing to that extent. I liked the characters and the actors but I gave up half way. And so much cheese. Hahaha

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I thought I was the only one :p

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lemme second that, or...third? lol

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Same here.

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Ditto. It was the cheesiness that got me.

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Congrats to Korea lololol. It's surprising how entertainment can rake in such big bucks.

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That might explain why it is considered a soft power.

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I have a question: what is "global country branding?" And could someone give me some examples, please? Thank you!

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I think it means the way that, for instance, a cultural product can project a certain image of a country to the rest of the world that will make them see said country in a positive light and make it a more popular tourist destination etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_branding

Sorry for the no examples, I hope this still helped a bit.

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Think of it the way you would view product branding. Branding is how a country, product, company, service, says "This is who I am." For any kind of organization its usually supposed to reflect mission, values, and personality. This is often represented through symbols, images, slogans, etc. You can see if especially in the difference between branding makeup brands Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs.

Countries, usually through Tourism Boards, can do the same thing. They can portray their country a certain way through various marketing channels, imagery, entertainment, etc. Paris and Las Vegas are good examples of cities with strong branding. We all have our own images of these places that differentiates them from other places in the world. You might have even seen advertisements on TV/ YouTube that brand Las Vegas, as just "Vegas" accompanied by imagery of that fun, sin-city, do-whatever-you-want, "what stays in Vegas" lifestyle. Likewise, Paris "City of Lights" has luck in appearing in many books, films, movies as an aspirational place to be filled with culture, art, food, and romance.

Hope this helps. (I'm a marketing student, hahaha)

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Well written explanation. Good job!

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Excellent explanation! Now I want to travel to Vegas, Paris, and of course Seoul :D

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In diplomacy, we call nation branding as one part of public diplomacy. Nation branding is to brand what kind of image or what kind of perceptions we want when people see or hear about our country to promote the country's image.

For example for most people here South Korea is associated with K-pop or Hallyu. That's because the government and the people want to push Hallyu as the Nation Branding, as the soft power of South Korea.
Another example, Malaysian Tourism branded themselves as "Malaysia Truly Asia" and they manage to show how Malaysia is a diverse country with rich cultural heritages mixed in from parts of Asia (Malaysia has 3 large ethnicity, Malay, Chinese, Indian).

You can read from here too if you're interested:
https://publicandculturaldiplomacy3.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/public-diplomacy-and-nation-branding-7/

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Korea is depicted as a true american ally in Descendants of the Sun. which I found heart warming. I am typing on a Samsung laptop right now. I would rather buy Korean goods than Chinese goods just because I feel there is more fairness in business practices and human rights. I admire the effort that Koreans have made to broaden and elevate public health. Korean dedication to educating young people and openness to studying abroad reflects a sophisticated sensibility. I see the success of Korean media to be indicative of the high regard for self expression that is evident in the history of Korean folk art and culture. Korea is just more innovative than other countries and so they have been more successful adapting to change. No place is this more evident than Korean media . Also, historically speaking, the Korean people have endured so much with such dignity that it is really inspiring. If this is mere branding then consider me sold.

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In my opinion global country branding is how you see a country, when you talk a about a country, what comes to your mind. For an example : when people say Japan, I will think about industrialization as the world see Japan as an industrial giant in Asia.

And I ever see Panasonic ads with the tagline "Japan Product", you can see that Panasonic sell its product by using the word "Japan" because when people talk about Japan they will believe that this product have good quality, that's how the brand nation works. Imagine if the tagline is "China Product", will this tagline has a strong value as the first one? I believe not.

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This is a great question, and I LOVE all these comprehensive answers. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Beanies!

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Another reason to love dramabeans: though we're generally a bunch of drama addicts who easily lose our minds over scenes and characters that won't impact our actual lives, we each are still fully capable of intellectual exchange. I was going to give my two cents as a marketing practitioner but the other beanies were able to thoughtfully explain it already. I so love this community. ^_^

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Lol! I cannot stand KES, but you have to give the woman an award! She knows how to draw an audience. And honestly, there are days when all you need is a KES drama. Shut down every feminist bone in your body, every political bone, some continuity and just plain ol' common sense cells and just ride the hell out of the fluff!
I am not even saying this as a bash on KES. Its a good thing. I get tired of the outside world sometimes, with all our implications and histories, and just want to go on a ride where my heart soars and melts and dances at all the pretty and swoons.

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Honestly, u enjoyed DOTS cos I didn't have to shut down any feminist bones in my body. The female characters didn't sit down waiting for any man! They pulled their weight. No forceful kisses. The men respected themselves. They accepted rejections gracefully. Everyone said what they meant immediately. There was no misunderstanding that could have been solved by a simple conversation. No third wheels. No jealous woman. No terrible mother in law.

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Absolutely agree with you Ann. I think thats why it was a good drama.

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This! Despite its wrongs, this is what DotS did right.

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+1

I guess I could understand why people don't like the drama, but there was so much good in it that surpassed the flaws (and you mentioned them). It's not even like the worse kdrama out there lol

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Beautifully said.

I'm getting a new appreciation for KES via her show On Air. She sheds light on her motivations via a lot of meta.

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I like her parallels as well? Not sure if that's the right term lol.

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you shut down every feminist bone in your body for DotS? :o Funny cause this is the one drama where her female leads are well written lmao

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No, she said, she didn't shut down any feminist bone in her body. I agree with this comment too.
It was the first time, i mean, ever, in kdramaland, i've watched a drmama in witch i wasn't dreaming about slapping the bitchy jealous second woman and the mean mother-in-law.
It wass the first time i've not dreamt about shouting every damn five minutes "Just talk to her/him and pleaaaaaase listen before making your own scenarios".
Just for that, DOTS was delightful and i'm glad it has helped somehow their economy.

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Ha Ha.. Maybe KES will become a cultural icon, too.

(If she isn't already one :-) )

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Awesome! Every time I hear that Korean dramas are helping the Korean economy, I squee in joy. Its popularity is really no joke... We sometimes strike up a conversation with the Chinese waiters/waitresses in the Chinese buffets we go to and nearly EVERYONE knows about Descendants of the Sun, along with You From Another Star! Thanks for the fun and informative article, Dramabeans!

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Incredible a shitty drama like that, this world is almost over.

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It is a blockbuster, shitty or not, it sells. But I don't understand the HUGE fever going wordwide (why "just" a drama helped improve the economy that much?), if so, why the US is not the wealthiest country in the world? Hollywood makes a lot of cash, and is recognized worldwide, but it's not the main force behind the economy or is it?

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If you're wondering why this is news, its because its kinda amazing to think that one drama can have such an impact. You are on a site dedicated to Korean dramas after all.

I'm pretty sure the US still has the highest GDP and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I believe that Arts/Entertainment are one of the US's top exports. But the US also makes money off other exports like cars, planes (Boeing), oil, electronics (Apple), etc.

I would say this is bigger deal for South Korea because it has a relatively smaller economy. This means a lot more % growth to the country: the same amount would mean a lot less to a country as larger as the US. Especially since Korea was so poor after then Korean War, and then grew super fast to be what it today. Also, Korea has other exports like cars, high-tech industry (Samsung, anyone?), etc.

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Thank you for your explanation. I understand it now. But it still is kind of surreal

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For some reason I find this very funny.
I mean, imagine Korean students learning economics/ commerce at school a in a few years, and there's a spike in the business cycle in 2016. And a student asks the teacher "why was there a spike in gdp in 2016??" And the teacher answers "cuz of DoTS" AHAHAH

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LOL ?????

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Hahahahahaha

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Hahahahahaha.....can't stop the laugh?????

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The teacher and other students will probably think he is joking, since this is not the first time a drama has this kind of effect. Just look at Winter Sonata and the other dramas that followed.

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"Descended From the Sun adds jolt to the Korean economy"

I expect the next news will be "Descended From the Sun adds jolt to Song Joong Ki's economy and popularity".

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Song Joong Ki have the best Army come back ever!

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"Descended From the Sun adds jolt to Song Joong Ki’s economy and popularity” HAHAHA that is true! I'm in Korea now and everytime I turn on the tv, every single commercial break will have at least one Song Joong Ki's CF. he's advertising like everything - beer, water purifier, ice cream etc hahah even I felt like buying the water purifier brand he's advertising (and I'm not even a SJK fan). Glad that his post army comeback is a success.

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Let me add to that. I am in Seoul now, and I see him in nearly all drugstores and convenient shops! There are also tuna and sport shoes.

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Even me who don't go to SK knows how much popular SJK these days. I read he has at least 15 CFs thanks to DOTS.

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Man and here I am a total SJK fan since 5 years and I'm stuck in the land of nowhere and having DOTS withdrawel syndroms (from all that cheesy SJK)...Ahhh man I wish I was in Korea now, wouldn't have that problem

I hope he's not overworking. But I'm really happy a preproduced Drama is breaking all records. Hope they make more of them!!

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This drama actually makes me wanting to visit Greece instead... all those beautiful sceneries were actually filmed overseas... lol...

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Well, same with me... Lol

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I read that they rebuilt the set so that it could be used as a tourist destination for DotS fans. Hopefully it'll help their local economy, even if only a little bit-- they need all the help they can get.

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Right? I hope this helps Greece too, they truly need it.

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Oh thanks for mentioning this guys!!I am greek and it was awesome and a little sureal seing the beautiful greek islands in a korean drama(i read there was another country they filmed at,but i really can't remember at the moment)!All the other dramas i watched definitely made me wanna visit S.Korea, as it looks like an amazing place with a very interesting culture!A million thanks for the love!It's a nice change getting understanding and not bashing,as is often the case.I hope you can visit soon!It really is beautiful!

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*surreal *seeing Excuse my mistakes please!I swear my english isn't that bad :P:P

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oh yes.... It's not only that we have beautiful beaches, islands, weather etc those you can find in other parts of the world too, especially in tropical places, but the mix of all the previous combined with one of the most significant cultures, civilizations, historic figures, tons of contributions and inventions, beautiful lifestyle, one of the best foods in the world and you have a point. <3

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Ok quick question why is this drama named Descendants of the Sun. Like is there some correlation I'm missing because I do not get it at all and it's been bugging me. ?

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There was a bit in the closing monologue. Something to the effect of: humanity should pull together because we're all born under the same sun. Well, that's the gist of it anyway.

It's in the last episode.

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I absolutely love the fact that my guilty pleaseure of drama watching is contributing to the global economy and *cough* making the world a better place. No biggie :)

*runs off to wave article under husband's nose to validate my "hobby"*

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Hahahaha! I know Right? World peace and unity y'all. Its totaly a worthwhile venture,totaly.

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the capitalists must be so happy.

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It reminds me when movie Ode To Joy being box office and people all went to Busan to see those shops and places. In other way it help local tourism.

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You know what would be awesome? If they used some of the DotS mania to encourage people to make a difference. I'd love to see Song Hye-kyo promote donating to Doctors Without Borders, or an international children's charity, and Onew promote donating a goat (or contributing towards the gift of one) through an organization like heifer.org. The location, storyline, and popularity of DotS makes this a unique opportunity.

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+1000

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Onew Union (fansite) actually donated 20 goats to Africa! lol

But good point, it would be great if those involved encouraged people to make a difference.

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Seriously? That's too funny! Did Onew fans come up with Urk boys name too? He's too adorable. I have never heard a drama boosting the economy of a country but DotS shld get some kind of honorary award from the govt then. Show is very entertaining .

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How is it that the economic report conclusively points to the effect of said drama... when most of studies takes at least six months measuring atrribution of economic output to specific trigger (a drama) and what-have-you.

Just dots? It's more likely another media play to project (perceived) success. Just wondering who did the measurements.

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I have a question .
Which drama is more popular "The Heirs" or "Descendant of the Sun"??
Which of them caused more economic growth, tourism, buzz,popularity of actor and all those stuff

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The heirs is nowhere as popular as DOTS, as far as i can see

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Definitely DOTS. Afaik Heirs was mainly popular with the younger generation. People usually compare the overall popularity of DOTS with You From Another Star.

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Show me hard data before you blurt out which drama earned more and which actor is more popular

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Why selling goods with DOTS logo means a growth? Doesn't it means thet goods from the logo of other artists and dramas decreased? I read above there were phone covers with DOTS - how many phone covers a person can wear? It's a trend and repleced the previous one.
Also the tourism boost - I would suppose it's Greece that will be happy here.
Zakynthos is now rediscovered by the asian tourists.

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Dae Jang Geum did that?! No drama will ever surpass its figures.
I really enjoyed watching DOTS so I'm glad it accomplished this much for its country.

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I'm kinda happy that this show is doing so well because I think the actors really brought their characters to life and I enjoyed the acting, if it weren't for them I would have stopped watching it. They deserve the success.
Plus I think the economy is doing so well because of all the PPL in the show. There was so much it made me want to stop watching, especially the finale.

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Congratulations to South Korea!

The way the popularity of this drama is going, Song Joong-ki could run for president of the country and he'd win.

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+10000000000 :)

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DOTS' popularity is no joke. People can hate on it all they want but they just sound like jealous kids cause it wasn't their fave's drama. I personally enjoyed the drama and loved the romance and humor. It wasn't perfect but it was one of the good k-dramas out their. The acting was so great and Song Joong Ki worked hard; he and the drama deserve all the popularity.

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*there

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I absolutely enjoyed DOTS! and am really happy that it was such a hit! Everyone who put all that effort into the show deserves this success.

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Don't forget that Descendants of the Sun Starts Filming in Greece. The breathtaking places,white sand beaches, blue waters ... what about Greek economy???

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Just to give an estimated figure, 1 trilllion KRW = 877,740,000 USD (from xe.com)

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I watched DOTS like from Ep1-14, I just can't watch it anymore because it's fully of effing cheesiness... It is too much. We call that "OA" in our country.

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