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"Gangnam Style" hits China too

Korean rapper Psy's popularity is no exception in China, though it has been a bit slow to pick up in the world's most populous nation. The hit song "Gangnam Style" has been reported by many media outlets, its dance has been imitated, and numerous parodies of his music video have been produced in the country.

The China Youth Daily reported a roundup of interviews of Kim Jin-gon,, director of the Korean Cultural Center, and Chinese professionals in Beijing, on October 18, on Psy's phenomenal success around the world. The number of views for Psy's "Gangnam Style" on YouTube recently surpassed 580 million.

A "Gangnam Style" parody produced by students from Southwest University (video captured from ku6.com)

Media analyst Shen Yang, TV composer Yang Wei, Internet shopping mall CEO Chen Mo, and Kim all agreed that the popularity of the song is attributed to its rhythm and music video as well as Psy's signature horse-riding dance. They also said the glamorous fashion including Psy's sunglasses and the humorous elevator dance scene were very catchy.

"I was most impressed by Psy's simple but comic horse-riding dance, and because it was easy to imitate, it could become a cultural phenomenon," said Shen Yang in the interview.

The popularity of "Gangnam Style" is explosive among Chinese students and entertainers. Chinese celebrities danced to the song on television while students have been reported performing the dance at welcoming parties for freshmen.

Chinese entertainers dance to "Gangnam Style" on CCTV (photo captured from a Chinese Web site)

Zhang Yi Ting, a student, said he heard his friends talking about "Gangnam Style" so he searched for the song on the Internet and listened to it. "The song has been stuck in my head since listening to it twice," he said.

The China Youth Daily said that the horse-riding dance is easy to follow and people around the world are performing the dance. On Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, a post teaching the dance with a picture containing three different dance moves has become popular.

The newspaper also said that the song's popularity is attributed to the fact that it was endorsed by top celebrities such as Britney Spears and Tom Cruise. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also spoke well of the song. The song rose to top of pop charts in Europe and the United States, earning acknowledgement in the mainstream Western culture, the newspaper said.

Chen Mo said the sarcasm expressed in the lyrics of the song won the sympathies of ordinary people. The China Youth Daily reported that the song was first promoted on the Internet rather than through traditional media such as television.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) laughs with Korean rapper Psy during a photo op at the UN headquarters in New York on October 23, 2012. The UN chief joked during their meeting that he felt overshadowed by Psy. "I'm a bit jealous," he said. "Until two days ago someone told me I am the most famous Korean in the world. Now I have to relinquish. I have no regrets" (photo: Yonhap News).

"Though it did not make any profit from the Internet, it created a sensation," the newspaper said.

"They used different marketing tactics through the Internet rather than conventional tools," said Cheon Mo.

What is notable is that the song gained popularity in the West first before it became popular in Korea, the newspaper said. "It took a little time for culture to be transferred from one place to another but now because of the Internet, there is no time delay," Kim said. Shen Yang said the global media is integrated at rapid speed and if you can get major coverage in the English media, you can easily conquer the world.

By Limb Jae-un
Korea.net Staff Writer

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