China has increased its pressure on Korean popular culture in its protests over South Korea's deployment of an American missile defense system. In the past month or so, music artists from South Korea have seen concerts canceled on the mainland and TV appearances curtailed. 


Photo: AP Photo / Lee Jin-man, File

China / Korea Tensions - Beijing’s escalating condemnation of South Korea over a U.S. anti-missile system has triggered protests against a popular retail giant and a reported ban on Chinese tour groups visiting the country. 

Now, even streaming services in China are blocking K-pop songs and other entertainment content from South Korea. An "industry official" told South Korean newspaper Joongang Daily, "China has made regional satellite TV broadcasters suspend the airing of South Korean TV programs and give no permission for Korean stars to appear on Chinese TV shows. Blocking access to streaming services is feared to deal a blow to the Korean industry."

South Korean TV dramas are especially popular in China on video sharing platforms. Nevertheless, says some music companies see a silver lining to the ban.

One executive told the website that entertainers should "take advantage of this situation to enhance their competitiveness."

He claims there is a "bubble" in the Chinese market, and that Korean stars should "find new markets" elsewhere in Asia through global online video streaming services. Just the fact that so much media attention is focused on the harm that the Chinese ban is having on the Korean entertainment industry proves that this industry had become too dependent on China.

The Southeast Asian markets are "not as big as China but have high growth potential," this executive, Hwang Ji-seon of Mountain Movement, said. "It we have good content, we can export it at good prices."