Can We Count the Number of Hallyu Fans?

"It has entered a new phase of becoming a global pop culture," KF said of recent developments. The main base is K-pop. Last year, 68% of the clubs identified were K-pop clubs.


Editor | 2024.03.15

[Editor] Yesterday, it was announced that the number of Hallyu fans (affinity groups) worldwide has surpassed 200 million for the first time. According to the "2023 Global Hallyu Status Report" released by the Korea Foundation (KF), there were 225 million Hallyu fans as of December last year. The number of Hallyu fans, which is the Korean term for singing along to K-pop, first hit the 100 million mark in 2020. This number has multiplied in just three years. This is a 24-fold increase from 9.24 million in 2012, when KF's "Hallyu Status" was first published.

KF regularly counts the number of Hallyu fans at this time of year. Of course, there are critics. What is the point of counting Hallyu fans this way? Actually, there's no "criteria" to determine who is a Hallyu fan or not. It's not just about liking Hallyu. There are probably a lot of people who liked Hallyu but were disappointed and left. The number of members in a fan club is not a very accurate statistic.

In other words, these statistics are actually "statistics" for the Korean government. The government needs a certain "trend" based on "numbers" that are captured in a certain order, and this KF's work has fulfilled this expectation, and the media can reproduce these studies. It is true that these numbers have informational value, but they must be read critically.

The Korea Foundation (KF), together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, released "The State of the Korean Wave in the Global 2023," a report on the current status of the Korean wave in 119 countries around the world.

As of December 2023, the number of Hallyu fans (club members) around the world has exceeded 200 million for the first time, reaching about 225 million. This is about 24 times more than the 9.26 million in 2012, when the first "Global Hallyu Status" was released, and 46 million (25.8%) more than the previous year. The number of Hallyu clubs continues to grow in size and number, with 1,748 clubs worldwide, about 2.3 times more than the 757 clubs in 2012 and 64 more than the previous year.

The largest number of Hallyu clubs or Hallyu fans is in Asia and Oceania, where 66% of all Hallyu fans are located. In particular, China resumed airing Hallyu dramas in 2022, and by 2023, the country was home to approximately 100 million active Hallyu fans. Thailand became the country with the largest number of Hallyu fan clubs (affinity groups) in the world, with 123.

About 225 million Hallyu fans worldwide
Published "The State of the Hallyu in the World in 2023"

  • Contains the latest Hallyu information from 119 countries around the world
  • The number of Hallyu fans around the world has increased 24 times in 12 years
  • Asia and Oceania with about 150 million fans, with the largest growth in the Americas

However, the continent with the largest growth in membership in 2023 is the Americas. The Americas will see an 80% increase in the number of Hallyu fans compared to the previous year, with Mexico leading the growth rate. Hallyu fans in the Americas became the second largest consumers of Hallyu content in the world during the pandemic, paving the way for the development of Hallyu 4.0, which focuses on lifestyle Hallyu, from content consumption to Korean language learning.

The analysis of Hallyu clubs in 2023 shows that K-pop and K-dramas are the foundation of the Hallyu craze, with about 68% of the Hallyu clubs surveyed in 2023 being K-pop clubs and about 10% being K-drama clubs. The secret to the success of K-pop and K-dramas is analyzed to be the Korean culture based on Korean narratives and the ability to gain empathy and hope from content that deals with "hope," "love," "family," etc.

KF publishes data on "Global Hallyu" through the KF Statistics Center ( Anyone interested in Hallyu can check the data on Hallyu clubs for the past 12 years at the KF Statistics Center. The e-book is available in the KF Digital Archive ( and can be accessed as an e-book. KF plans to distribute the booklet "The Status of Hallyu in the Global Village in 2023" to relevant institutions and organizations in Korea and abroad so that it can be used as a resource for international exchange and research. [끝]