Korea Makes Lackluster Impression on the World

      March 05, 2010 10:00

      Korea needs to do more to improve its image in the world, a survey celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chosun Ilbo by Gallup Korea partner Global Market Insite suggests. The survey was conducted among 5,209 adults in 10 countries -- Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S.

      Respondents were asked about their impression of each of the countries plus North Korea. Canada ranked first with 90.2 percent of respondents having a favorable impression, followed by the U.K. (79.5 percent) and Germany (79 percent). Italy (74.0 percent), the U.S. (72.5 percent) and France (72.0 percent) came next. South Korea (37.1 percent) came in eighth place just after Japan (62.8 percent), while China (30.5 percent), Russia (27.2 percent) and North Korea (16.4 percent) ranked lowest.

      Among countries where people had the most favorable impression of Korea, Russia came first with 57.5 percent, followed by Japan (40.1 percent) and the U.S. (39.5 percent). The countries which had the least favorable impressions of South Korea were Germany (25.4 percent) and the U.K. (29.1 percent). North Korea had the most supporters in South Korea at 41.6 percent, followed by China with 30.4 percent. The image of the North was worst in the U.S., where only 2.2 percent had favorable impressions of the hermit country.

      Jung Hyun-jung of Gallup Korea said the impression of Asian countries was unfavorable because most of the countries surveyed were in North America or Western Europe. "But the fact that Korea ranked eighth behind Japan by such a wide margin is something to think about," Jung added.

      Only 7.2 percent of the respondents in nine of the 10 countries, naturally excluding Korea, had visited Korea but 50.2 percent had tried Korean food. Japan (29.6 percent) and China (14.5 percent) had the highest number of respondents who visited Korea, as against less than 5 percent in the other countries.

      Japan and China also had the largest number of respondents who had eaten Korean food. The biggest numbers elsewhere were in Russia, Canada and the U.S. But the popularity of pizza and pasta in Korea was not offset by an equivalent devotion to kimchi in Italy, where only 17.5 percent had ever eaten Korean food, the smallest number among the countries surveyed.

      The most popular Korean food was kimchi, followed by bulgogi (barbecued beef), bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef), galbi (grilled beef ribs), samgyetang (chicken soup with ginseng) and kimchi stew. Kimchi was popular in the U.S. and Canada, while bulgogi was favored in China and Japan.

      The survey was conducted in South Korea on Feb. 24 by interviewing 526 people, while surveys in the other nine countries were taken between Feb. 8 to 11 targeting around 500 respondents per country by e-mail. The margin of error was a hefty 4.3 percent and the confidence level 95 percent.

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