Thursday, March 23, 2023

The ‘BTS effect’: How Indonesia should learn from South Korean soft ‘economy’ power

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Valina Zahra





As the current biggest Korean boy band in the world, BTS has been proving its status by breaking barriers and records – in or outside music industry – around the world.

In the music industry, they grabbed number one spots in music charts and have won many awards. Outside the music industry, they have a global campaign called “Love Yourself” to fight against violence and give their speech in the United Nation as UNICEF’s global ambassadors.

BTS’ contribution to South Korea so far

“Bangtan economy” is a nickname for BTS as a credit for contributing to South Korea’s culture, economy, and industry due to their popularity.

The economic effect

According to the Hyundai Research Institute in 2019, the overall BTS effect in the economy was 5.56 trillion won per year in South Korea (US$ 4.9 billion). The institute predicted that BTS would create a total of 56 trillion won over 10 years from 2014 to 2023. A total of 7,928 more jobs were also estimated to be created by Dynamite’s entry at No. 1 in the Hot 100 chart in 2020 with 1.23 trillion won in production sector and 480 billion won were added to the value. According to the Bank of Korea Economic Statistics System, South Korea’s BOP (balance of payments) for music and entertainment in the first quarter of 2019 was US$ 114.7 million.

The tourism effect

A survey by the Korea Tourism Organization revealed the top five BTS-related locations. The Seoul Metropolitan Government also credited BTS with assisting in the recovery of Seoul’s tourism industry.

The consumer goods exports effect

BTS has an annual influence on consumer goods such as clothing (US$ 2.026 billion), cosmetics (US$ 2.8 billion), and food (US$ 3.966 billion) in 2019. They also bring 600 billion won (US$ 504 million) profit Hyundai carmaker as the company’s global ambassadors.

BTS enlistment worry stakeholders

The day BTS announced their enlistment plan, the stock price of BigHit Music’s parent company, HYBE, plunged several percent. The enlistment created a worry among stakeholders and became a major debate in South Korea between society and the lawmakers.

In an interview with Reuters, Shinhan Investment Corp. analyst Ji In-hae said that “Sales from BTS will not disappear. Members’ individual activities, the release of content and photobooks already filmed and older album sales will be highly profitable. However, with the biggest moneymaker absent, the key [for HYBE] will be how much sales are made from new businesses.”

How Indonesia should learn from South Korean soft ‘economy’ power

It is not accurate to say that Indonesia cannot do “soft diplomacy” like South Korea. Every country has its own unique set of resources and priorities that shape its approach to international relations, and it is not fair to compare one country’s diplomacy to another’s in an absolute sense. That being said, it is true that South Korea has been particularly successful in using “soft power” as a tool of diplomacy. South Korea has been able to effectively use its popular culture, including music, television shows, and movies, as a way to build connections with other countries and to promote a positive image of itself internationally.

Indonesia, also has its own unique cultural assets that it can use to pursue soft diplomacy. For example, Indonesian cuisine, traditional music and dance, and natural beauty are all assets that could potentially be leveraged in diplomatic efforts. However, it is ultimately up to the government and other organizations within the country to decide how to best utilize these assets and what approach to take in their international relations. There are some lessons from South Korean that Indonesia can apply when it comes to its soft power diplomacy:

  • Consider to use their famous group band or an actress to be an influencer to speak up about some issues that happening in Indonesia;
  • Creative directors in Indonesia can actually create some spirits of the younger generation through dance and music to promote Indonesia;
  • Between private companies & government should work together in order to make the Indonesia’s soft power diplomacy successful.

Cultural cooperation between both countries is profitable for South Korea

There are many areas of cultural cooperation between Indonesia and South Korea. Here are a few examples:

Art and music: Indonesia and South Korea have a long history of cultural exchange in the arts and music. South Korean pop culture, in particular, has gained a large following in Indonesia, and many Indonesian artists have gained popularity in South Korea.

Film and television: Indonesia and South Korea have also cooperated in the film and television industries. For example, some South Korean films have been dubbed into Indonesian and have been screened in Indonesian theaters.

Education: Indonesia and South Korea have also worked together in the field of education. Many Indonesian students study abroad in South Korea, and South Korean universities have established partnerships with Indonesian universities.

Food: Indonesian and South Korean cuisine have both gained popularity around the world, and there has been cultural exchange in the culinary arts between the two countries.

Valina Zahra






We will provide you with an invoice for your reimbursable expenses.


New to Indonesian market? Read our free articles before subscribing to the premium plan. If you already run your business in Indonesia, make sure to subscribe to the premium subscription so you won’t miss any intelligence & business opportunities.


$550 USD/Year


$45 USD/Month

Cancelation: you can cancel your subscription at any time, by sending us an email

Add keywords to your market watch and receive notification:
Schedule a free consultation with us:

We’ll contact you for confirmation.


Moscow is working on simplifying visa procedures for six of its friendliest countries, including Indonesia, due to the recent drop on tourist number in Russia. The other nation receiving the simplifying visa procedures are Angola, Vietnam, Syria and the Philippines. The selection was clearly not based on tourism reasons. These six countries were chosen not for their tourism potential, but because they were thought to be the most friendly to Russia.
The Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) Rector Arif Satria and the Chancellor of Shizuoka Professional University of Agriculture (SPUA) Shigehiko Suzuki signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to agriculture and vocational education on March 2, 2023.
To enhance collaboration and bilateral ties in different domains, the Indonesian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dewi Gustina Tobing met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the latter’s office in Sri Lanka on March 4, 2023. During the meeting, Tobing urged her counterpart to initiate talks for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries to boost bilateral trade, reported.
Chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) Isma Yatun met with Chairman of the Korean Board of Audit Inspection (BAI) Choe Jaehae in Seoul on March 3, 2023, to create an action plan for future bilateral cooperation. The potential cooperation includes arrangements for the two institutions to exchange examiners for secondment at each other’s Supreme Audit Institution (SAI).
The International Labor Organization (ILO) launched the “Promise II Impact” second stage program to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access financial services through entrepreneurship. The initiative strives to enhance the conditions that facilitate a financial sector that is accessible to SMEs, fostering economic expansion and the creation of job prospects.
The Indonesian Ambassador for Namibia Wisnu Edi Pratignyo led a virtual meeting with Namibia’s Executive Director at the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Alfred van Kent and Director of Planning and Policy Tuanda Keeja on March 2, 2023, to discuss the potential collaboration in vocational education between Indonesia and Namibia.