SEOUL - Could BTS make the cover of Time magazine as person or group of the year? An online poll of names has the South Korean boyband with the most votes while the country's other entertainment exports, from movie Train To Busan to TV serial Descendants Of The Sun, have conquered Asian markets.
But who are the K-pop celebrities who have amassed the most wealth? According to E! Online, the top five are:
1. Psy (US$45 million or S$62 million)
He galloped his way to the bank after he hit the jackpot with 2012 hit Gangnam Style. The video has since logged 3.2 billion views on YouTube. His recent album 4x2=8 continues his chart success. His annual All Night Stand concerts, with A-list guests, are popular. This year, he cut out the middleman with his own agency.
2. Choi Siwon (US$35 million)
The member of Korean boyband Super Junior has also made his mark in acting - he was in 2015 movie Dragon Blade opposite Jackie Chan - and modelling. Early this month, Stanford University invited him to share his insights about the K-pop juggernaut.
3. G-Dragon (US$ 21 million)
A member of mega boyband Big Bang, the fashionable singer - he has been spotted in front row at Chanel shows - has breathed fire on his own too, with soldout solo shows and his lifestyle brand PeaceMinusOne. He reportedly nets US$700,000 a year in songwriting royalties alone.
4. Rain (US$20 million)
The singer-actor, who has also made his Hollywood foray with Ninja Assassin (2009), has put his money to good use. He and his wife, actress Kim Tae-hee, reign as the wealthiest celebrity couple in South Korean real estate.
5. Sandara Park (US$16 million)
She has parlayed her status as a member of hit girl group 2NE1 to ink lucrative deals, acting in drama serials and promoting lifestyle brands. She is also a TV show host.