The top echelons of popularity when it comes to Hallyu stars feels like one of those elite clubs – hard to get in but once in it’s a breezy ride to stay on top. How else to explain the enduring popularity of the current set of It folks, the likes of which is starting to be a cut and paste exercise when writing about them because it’s the same names regardless of what the poll and/or award is.
A just released poll of nearly two hundred thousand Chinese voters asked to pick their most anticipated Korean star for 2016 activities revealed a list that’s basically a carbon copy of the folks who were popular in 2015. Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho, and Lee Jong Seok were the actors on the list, while Jeon Ji Hyun and Park Shin Hye were the K-actresses Chinese audiences were most looking forward to next year. Yoo Jae Seok and Kim Jong Kook led the way for variety stars, while Big Bang, 2NE1 and Miss A were the K-pop groups that C-fans can’t wait to see in 2016.
I think 2017 will have some movement on this bunch of always popular K-stars, namely Jeon Ji Hyun might drop off after she has her baby and goes on acting hiatus. Or not, she’s perennially popular. I think Lee Min Ho will only lose his top popularity when he enlists in the army for his military service, whereas Kim Soo Hyun and Lee Jong Seok have a few more years before their time is up to serve. I’m a bit surprised Kim Woo Bin isn’t on this list but that might change is his drama Arbitrarily Fond hits it big in China. All in all, China remains one of the top consumer markets for Korean entertainment so being big there is nothing to yawn at, and definitely worth the time spent to continue to grow that fan base.