For the love of marketing, advertising will remain to be a staple in any market. What better way to reach out to people or let everyone know about a certain product or service through ads (media, print, etc.) that show them how these items can change their lives for the better. These ads have been effective for years in increasing brand recall and boosting sales of many businesses. And the continued advancements in technology gave helped a lot in promoting or growing any brand throughout the world.
But in China, the Chinese government now restricts the hiring of Korean stars in marketing and advertising in China because of a diplomatic dispute. China is implementing a clampdown on Hallyu, the Korean wave of KDrama and KPop, thereby companies operating in China will no longer hire South Korean celebrities in promoting various products or services offered to the Chinese market. It’s all because of the South Korean government’s support on the U.S. missile defense technology that will likewise be carried out on South Korean soil, which is officially known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System or simply THAAD.
Advertising, along with TV entertainment and the music industry, has been affected by China‘s reported clampdown on South Korean pop culture. Though there has been no official policy change, several advertising executives said TV stations will no longer run ads featuring Korean stars. Obviously, that has made hiring them much less appealing to brands. As one executive creative director in China put it, the era of Korean celebrity endorsers “is finished.”
And it’s not only in advertising but Korean performers are likewise no longer welcome to perform in shows in China. It seems like a dead-end for South Korean stars who wish to earn extra on the side on Chinese territory.
“Hallyu,” the Korean wave of K-pop and TV dramas, has been the unlikely target of a diplomatic dispute. Seoul said in July that it would put a U.S. missile defense technology on its soil; the technology, called a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, would offer protection from the country’s neighbor, North Korea. But Beijing has opposed the plan, concerned about an impact on its own national security.
There were reports starting in August that China planned to show its displeasure by cracking down on Korean cultural imports. Since then media have reported on China banning TV content with Korean stars, including editing them out of shows. Reports also say Korean singers have not been granted clearance to perform in China.
Beijing has denied any new policy: a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in November that he hadn’t heard of any restrictions.
But South Korea is concerned, and one of its senior diplomats raised the issue with China late last month, according to Korea‘s Yonhap news agency.
Considering how serious the Chinese government is when it comes to implementing restrictions they consider are crucial for national safety and security, this restriction among South Korean stars will perhaps go on for a while as China decides who deserves their loyalty, their long-time ally and diplomatic partner, North Korea, or will they pursue a friendly relationship with the Western superpower that is America, which is likewise a friend of South Korea. But to add more insult to injury, not only is China no longer hiring South Korean endorsers but even Chinese tourists going to South Korea have significantly gone down as well.
The southern holiday resort island of Jeju, around 90km off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, is seeing a plummeting number of Chinese visitors – an immediate and direct consequence of the ever increasing tensions of geopolitics in the region.
This drop comes as China has taken a number of retaliatory economic measures, including banning tour packages to South Korea by Chinese tour operators, after Seoul decided to deploy an advanced US missile defence system, known as the THAAD, against a possible North Korean missile attack.
China claims that an advanced radar system that comes with the THAAD system could be used to monitor a large part of China and compromise its national security.
This volcanic island has seen an explosive growth of Chinese tourists every year over the past decade, reaching more than 3 million in 2016.
However, with many direct flights being cancelled and Chinese cruise ships banned from docking in South Korean ports, the number of daily Chinese tourists arriving in Jeju has nosedived by as much as 80 percent compared with the same period last year.
South Korean tourism suffered a lot because of the Chinese ban. But if there is one good thing that came out of this tension, South Korea realized they can’t depend solely on Chinese tourists to boost their revenue because the issue of geopolitics in the region can easily turn against them at any given time. The Chinese can be unforgiving and that’s a lesson learned by all South Koreans, albeit in a hard way. The country is currently opening its doors to other neighboring tourists in Asia and Southeast Asia to make up for the drastic loss of revenue. A door has been closed but they can definitely open up many windows.