(The Chosun Ilbo) -- There are now over 100 million fans of K-pop, Korean soaps and other Korean pop-culture products around the globe, according to a calculation by the Korea Foundation.
Fans in North America and Europe rather than Aisa seem to be spearheading the latest surge.
The foundation on Thursday put the number of worldwide fans of Korea pop culture at 104.78 million as of last September, up about 5.45 million on-year.
It based the figure only on members of overseas K-pop fan clubs in 98 countries.
In the Americas their number reached 15.8 million, up 3.65 million from a year earlier. It increased by about 660,000 in the U.S. alone, bringing the total there to 6.7 million.
Experts pointed out that the coronavirus epidemic also played a role, bringing 1,835 fan clubs around the world together through a variety of online activities.
In Asia, however, the fan base started to decline for the first time, especially in China, where fans have dwindled by some 10 million, partly due to the unofficial boycott of Korean products and services since 2017.