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S. Korea’s exports of red pepper paste soar 63% in 4 years due to K-pop popularity
South Korean exports of red pepper paste called "gochujang" soared to US$50.93 million in 2020, up 62.6 percent from 2016 and 35.2 percent from 2019, according to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. data.
Meanwhile, outbound shipments of South Korean soybean paste "doenjang" also surged to US$11.72 million in 2020, up 44.8 percent from 2016.
The robust exports were attributed to the global popularity of Korean pop culture.
Exports of gochujang seem to have soared in recent years as more foreigners watched K-pop stars, such as BTS, and get added exposure to Korean culture on over-the-top services.
The Korean Wave generated by K-pop and TV dramas could turn fans in foreign countries into South Korean product consumers.
The US imported the most gochujang with a market share of 26.4 percent, trailed by China with 17.3 percent, and Japan with 10.3 percent.
The Philippines was the fourth top importer at 6 percent, while Canada accounted for 4.3 percent.