SEOUL - South Korea is failing to cash in on a Chinese craze for a hit TV show because of too much red tape, President Park Geun-Hye said Thursday, renewing her call for bold deregulation.
The South Korean show "My Love from the Star" has won legions of devoted fans in China since its debut in December.
But when they rush to South Korean websites after each episode to buy the clothes worn by its stylish heroine Gianna Jun, they leave empty-handed because online purchases require a local bank account, Park complained.
"Such regulation... is hampering efforts by South Korean online stores to go global," Park said during a rare televised conference with business leaders and officials aimed at driving the deregulation message home.
Park has repeatedly called for red tape to be slashed, describing cumbersome bureaucracy as a "cancer" and an "enemy to be crushed".
She urged officials on Thursday to work harder to strip away unnecessary regulations in a bid to revitalise South Korea's sluggish economy.
Based on a love story between a top Seoul actress and a 400-year-old alien disguised as an earthling, "My Love from the Star" has become hugely popular on Chinese video-streaming websites.
Its success propelled Kim Soo-Hyun, who plays the alien heart-throb, to overnight fame in China.
It also sparked a craze in China for Korean-style fried chicken served with beer, after Jun was repeatedly shown eating the meal in the show.
South Korea's popular TV programmes and K-pop stars are credited with helping exports to China, its top trading partner.