BTS worth $5b a year to South Korean economy

South Korean pop group BTS performs during a Korean cultural event as part of South Korean President official visit in Paris on Oct 14, 2018.
South Korean pop group BTS performs during a Korean cultural event as part of South Korean President official visit in Paris on Oct 14, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL • South Korean boyband BTS are worth about 4.1 trillion won (S$5 billion) to the country's economy every year - equivalent to the contribution of 26 mid-sized companies - a research institute said on Tuesday.

The floppy-haired singers were also the reason that one in every 13 foreign tourists visited South Korea last year, the Hyundai Research Institute said.

Known for their boyish good looks and meticulously choreographed dance moves, BTS - short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts - have become one of South Korea's best-known and most valuable musical exports.

Earlier this year, the septet became the first K-pop band to top the American album charts, a sign of the genre's growing global appeal. That appeal has helped boost the brand image of South Korean products abroad, the institute said, making BTS a valuable economic asset.

About 800,000 tourists were believed to have chosen South Korea as their destination last year because of BTS - more than 7 per cent of the total visitors to the country. More than US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in consumer exports, such as clothes, cosmetics and foodstuff, were associated with them, the institute said.

If BTS maintain their popularity, they can be expected to generate an economic value of 41.8 trillion won over the next 10 years, it added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'BTS worth $5b a year to South Korean economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe