Korean gamemakers have been quietly enjoying an order of magnitude more overseas sales than its more famous Kpop music industry.
In 2012 Korean games for personal computers and mobile devices, including the immensely popular online games, produced $2.64 bil. worth of exports, 11 times the $235.1 mil. racked up by Korea’s splashy pop music industry, according to Monday’s press release by the Korean Finance Corp and Korea Creative Content Agency.
Games accounted for 57% of the $4.61 bil. in exports achieved Korea’s intellectual property sector. Those were followed by knowledge and information, animated characters, published materials, music, TV programs, contents solutions, animated features, commercials, movies and cartoons.
Korea’s game exports have been averaging an annual growth rate of 28.2% since 2010 when they tallied $1.66 billion.
China took in 38.5% of all Korean game exports, followed by Japan (27%), Southeast Asia (19%), and North America (6.5%).
Korea’s intellectual property exports are impressive for a mid-level East Asian nation that only became industrialized a quarter century ago, putting it on par with much larger economies like China and Japan.
By comparison, the US — the world’s leading provider of intellectual property — exported only $3.39 bil. in recorded media in 2012, in addition to $5.38 bil. in books & other printed matter and $124.2 bil. in royalties and license fees. The US imported only $907 mil. in recorded media, in addition to $3.62 bil. in books and payments of $39.9 bil. for foreign royalties and license fees.