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How government backing put K-pop on the map

Girls' Generation has Chinese-speaking members who have helped the group become even more popular in China.

TOKYO -- South Korea's entertainment industry has achieved great success overseas, in part out of necessity: The country's small domestic market means producers and entertainers are forced to focus on foreign markets from the start.

      The government has also lent a hand, with a policy of promoting entertainment and other cultural exports. Since the 1998 currency crisis, each president has pitched in. Kim Dae-jung called himself a "cultural president," Roh Moo-hyun vowed to make South Korea one of the top five nations in the entertainment industry, and Lee Myung-bak set up a national branding committee.

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