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Movie exports equal 1,420 car sales abroad

2003/09/26 Source

Korea exported 18.1 billion won ($15.7 million) worth of movies during the first half, generating as much added value as the sale of 1,419 passenger cars abroad, a central bank report showed yesterday.

The nation's movie exports in the six-month period were nearly equivalent to last year's annual figure of 18.7 billion won and represented a gigantic leap from 1999, when domestic filmmakers earned only 7.1 billion won in overseas markets.

"The film industry is not only pollution free but also creates a chain of economic value by creating demand for related facilities and products such as theaters and DVD titles", the Bank of Korea extolled. "It is regarded as a sector Korea should strategically foster in the 21st century".

The central bank pointed out that Korean moviemakers continued to produce blockbusters, with 11 films generating more than 30 billion won each in value added since 1999.

For example, "Memories of Murder", the nation's biggest hit in the first half, racking up 5.1 million viewers, induced an estimated 30.3 billion won in value added so far, which is equivalent to that created by 2,798 EF-Sonata sedans.

The second largest box office hit, "My Tutor Friend", is estimated to have produced as much value added as 2,651 EF-Sonata units that sell for 14.9 million won each.

The automobile-converted value added reached 4,860 units for "Memory Island", Korea's biggest-ever hit that came out in 2001, and 3,119 cars for "Shiri", a 1999 blockbuster.

"As Korean films continued to hit it big, their domestic market share has jumped consequently. Excluding the United States, Korean movies boast the highest domestic market share in the world", the BOK explained.

As recently as 1998, Korean films accounted for only 25.1 percent of the local market, but the rate jumped to 47.2 percent during the first half of this year.

In 2000, the comparable ratio stood at 35.1 percent in Korea, surpassing both Japan's 31.8 percent and France's 28.5 percent.

The number of times domestic films have been seen locally quadrupled over the past four years, from 12.59 million in 1998 to 50.82 million last year, the central bank statistics showed.

By Kim Ji-ho

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