S. Koreans wary of Chinese investments in local entertainment companies
South Koreans are on high alert for Chinese money in the local entertainment industry after the SBS historical drama “Joseon Exorcist” was canceled last month due to cultural appropriation by China and Chinese product placements.
Chinese foods, such as moon cakes and Chinese-style dumplings, and Chinese-style sets and props were used in “Joseon Exorcist”, which was set in Korea’s Joseon Kingdom.
Although the drama was entirely bankrolled by Koreans, the scenes represent growing cultural appropriation by China.
According to a production company marketing official, the production cost per episode is now around 600 million to 700 million won, which is difficult to cover the costs with just local advertisements.
The Chinese are investing in Korean dramas to help its streaming services to expand into countries where K-dramas are popular and to promote their products globally through product placements.
Hoping to replicate that success, Chinese platform iQiyi bought the foreign streaming rights to “Cliffhanger," and numerous Korean dramas.
Last year, Tencent invested 100 billion won in JTBC Studio, which made “The World of the Married” and “Itaewon Class.”'
Earlier this year, tvN’s webtoon-based drama “True Beauty” was criticized for scenes where Korean high school students were eating instant hotpot from Chinese company Zihaiguo, saying the blatant product placement interfered with the viewing experience.
South Koreans also urged a boycott of companies, actors, and staff that invested in the production of “Joseon Exorcist,” labeling them as ignorant of history.