Creative Thailand

The Rise of the Thai Entertainment Industry Abroad - Is Thailand the Next Korea of AEC?

Jamesji wasn’t raised on kimchi, but he has Korea going all “Oppa, saranghae!” for him. Pong - Nawat has achieved superstar status in China, while Mario Maurer is making waves in the Philippines. Then there’s BamBam of GOT7, Lisa of Blackpink, and even the Thai remake of the Korean drama, Princess Hours, that went off the charts in China. What is propelling the Thai entertainment business to famedom all over Asia? Has the time come for the Thai entertainment business to take over AEC? Issaya Sinpongsaporn, Brand Communications professor at the School of Communication Arts, Bangkok University and Ph.D. candidate at SOAS, is the author of the thesis on Thai remakes from Korean dramas and also a big fan of K-dramas herself. Today, she’s here to share a direct and mind-provoking analysis on the direction of the Thai entertainment industry abroad.


“Korea’s culture and entertainment industry is one of the top case studies on exporting culture as a product worldwide. In every branch of entertainment media, they’ve been able to cultivate a large and dedicated fanbase. Although Thailand’s entertainment industry may have fallen under Korea’s blow, it’s not giving up without a fight and is currently throwing punches back to fanbases abroad. Licenses for movies, dramas, and television shows have been bought by several countries, while actors/actresses and artists have been well-received in foreign markets. Not to mention the countless Thai stars who have established themselves as artists in the Korean entertainment industry. A leading cause for these successes can be attributed to the power of social media that has allowed our entertainment industry to thrive in Asia.


However, if we were to analyze further, the factor that would support Thailand into fully becoming the Korea among AEC countries is strategic positioning of the entertainment media business that is more far-reaching and well-rounded. Korean dramas, for instance, were not produced only for Koreans, but were targeted to the Asian market as a whole. Thailand’s dramas, on the other hand, are first targeted to Thai viewers and then bought by foreign countries if they become popular and create trends on social media. The same goes for Thai remakes of Korean dramas like Full House, of which seven to nine Asian countries bought the license instead of buying the original Korean version.”


Not only strong content, but also support from different sectors will contribute to the establishment of Thailand as the Korea of AEC. The Korean government fully supports the entertainment business and injects funds to match. If all sectors join hands, the vision of Thailand as the Korea of AEC should not be beyond reach.