Have you heard of Soompi? It’s the largest English community for the Korean wave.
There are many foreign fans that enjoy and love Korean dramas and K-Pop. They first learn the dance moves of Korean Idols (famous music artists) or the lyrics of a pop song, and then it naturally evolves into an interest in the Korean language and culture. Also people want a live feed of news related to Korean celebrities. That’s when English websites centered on the Korean wave shine.
The most flourishing Korean wave websites as of today is the American based Soompi.com (www.soompi.com). Soompi started as a personal homepage of a Korean-American, and then it became a legalized company in 2006. Soompi has more than 1.4 million daily visitors and the page views are over 22 million, which make it the largest Korean wave service in English. Now that Soompi is taken over by a Korean company, it is expected to introduce Korean culture, music and the Korean Wave to more foreign countries.
(The homepage of Soompi, the largest Korean wave website in English)
Soompi, started as a personal homepage of a Korean-American
Susan Kang is a second generation Korean in America. She operated her own homepage that was called ‘Soompi,’ which has now become her nickname. She was greatly interested in Korean pop culture, so she translated all kinds of news including Korean celebrities into English. As the Korean wave began to take rise in 2000, the number of visitors to her homepage began to increase. Susan Kang then developed Soompi into a Korean wave community with her friend Joyce Kim, establishing their site formally, legalizing it as a company and hiring employees.
The website grew rapidly, and in January 2006, the daily visitors increased from 200,000 to 700,000. As of today, it has become a major Korean wave website with over 1.4 million daily visitors. Soompi is indeed the largest Korean wave service in English as 5 million people visit the website monthly from over 150 countries.
(The uploaded picture of Hyun Bin leaving for Berlin. Hyun Bin’s popularity can even be found on Soompi)
A noticeable fact is that over 90% of Soompi members are foreigners. So, it is fair to say that Soompi provided the quench of information for the Korean wave thirsty fans in English speaking countries. An analysis of the members is as follows: 50% Asian, 35% Caucasian and others, with 75% female and 25% male. America, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, and Australia have the most members, respectively. Among the community, foreign fans are friendly toward the Korean culture and even call each other ‘Oppa and Unni,’ which is a Korean way of referring to a direct family member or close friend.
Soompi members are also famous for their loyalty. They generate over millions of contents by themselves, and they visit Korea to get good pictures and postings. In 50 cities around the world, they have ‘Soompi Meets,’ an offline meeting, and they get on their feet to get contents for posting. It feels new to see foreign fans loving and caring about Korean celebrities, also giving me a fresh and thankful feeling.
Taking over Soompi is the chance to quench the thirst for the Korean wave.
Soompi had been growing rapidly, but with the professional Korean media company taking over Soompi, it is expected to be transformed into a more professional and newer service.
(Contents posted on Soompi, The Top KPOP 50)
Enswers, the professional video research company, announced that it will begin the Korean wave media business in foreign countries, with the taking over of Soompi. Enswers was looking for a way to expand globally with the Korean wave; while Soompi wanted proper technology to expand the community. Their needs suited each other. So the acquisition was successful. Enswers is planning to establish Soompi Media in America in February, and it will introduce the newly updated Soompi through Blogenter and the homepage in the first half of the year.
The new Soompi is planning to establish a professional Korean wave online community, combining the Korean Pop culture news with the original Korean wave community. Also, it will incorporate its video researching technology. Susan Kang will continue to remain with Soompi to work as a ‘Representative Evangelist’ with her own know-how. Hope it becomes the leading example of a Korean wave website in English, as it meets a local’s operation know how and Korean information and technology.
There are not many channels for global Korean wave fans to encounter Korean contents. With Soompi as an example, I hope that more Korean wave websites are created with more Korean companies going global more actively. More than the Korean wave itself, it would be more meaningful if small and medium enterprises aim for niche markets created along the Korean wave and utilize its value.
*NOTE: This blog post is from The Presidential Council on Nation Branding’s Official blog ‘Korea brand blog’, on February 17 , 2011. If you have any further information about this blog post please contact us.(AdvancedTechKR@gmail.com) We will be happy to help you to get the related information. Thank you.