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S. Korea bolsters efforts to boost wave of culture

(Xinhua)

08:48, December 30, 2011

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Amid rising global interest in South Korean pop culture, known as the Korean Wave or hallyu, the South Korean government will step up its efforts to keep this wave rolling, the culture ministry said Thursday.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it will expand its budget for supporting hallyu from 1.7 billion won (1.5 million U.S. dollars) this year to 5.3 billion won next year.

The ministry's decision to increase the budget by more than three-fold to promote hallyu came as no surprise considering the growing popularity of South Korean culture, mainly driven by interest toward contemporary South Korean pop music known as K-Pop these days.

Earlier this month, a bunch of youngsters of different nationalities flocked to Seoul to participate in a global K-Pop event. Despite language and geography differences, they had one thing in common -- their love for K-Pop.

They were contestants who had made it to South Korea for the final round of the K-Pop World Festival, which took place on Dec. 7.

A total of 21 teams were selected through regional preliminaries that had been held at South Korea's overseas cultural centers in 16 countries over eight months since January this year.

A team made up of four Chinese students from Sichuan Conservatory of Music said it was their huge interest in South Korean culture, especially K-Pop, that had motivated them to participate in the event.

They had prepared for months for their performance of the song "Clap Your Hands" by the popular South Korean girl band 2NE1. "We often listen to K-Pop music and watch related videos online and thus learn Korean dances and songs. We also often do practices, and then lay out our own dances," said Wu Dan, a 22-year-old member of the Chinese group called WE: FIGHT.

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