Thailand’s Economic and Cultural Influence Soars Thanks to Thai BLs

Thai BL - Bedfriend

Thailand’s soft power has increased thanks to its production of BL series!

Also known as “Y series”, Thai BLs have helped expand Thailand’s economic and cultural influence, and international streaming revenue is rapidly increasing, said Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP).

According to the DITP, the streaming rights of Thailand’s BL series purchased by other Asian countries amounted to 360 million baht or 10.2 million USD in foreign investment in 2021. In 2022, exports of these gay romance series and movies exceeded 1.5 billion baht or 42.6 million USD.

Earlier this year, the DITP held a business-matching event in Bangkok so Thai producers of BL content could meet with importers from Japan, South Korea, and China. The fair generated 158 business negotiations that are expected to lead to more than 3.6 billion baht in revenue with the top three markets buying Thai content being Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

According to Nikkei Asia, the Thai economy also grew 2.7% in the first quarter of 2023 from the year earlier, and the central bank expects it to expand 3.6% for the whole year. Authorities say the tourism sector, which accounted for about 20% of the economy before the pandemic, will play an important role.

This has encouraged the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to expand its LGBT-related marketing strategy, which includes holding roadshows focusing on LGBT communities in Europe, Asia, and the US.

Dylan Hung, CEO of Enfinity Entertainment, a Thai production company, attributed openness and inclusion in Thai society as keys to their popularity. “Firstly, I think the young generation accepts [the] LGBT culture. In the past, I believe many people liked this culture, but you could not read and watch BL-related books and dramas publicly.”

Hung said that while there is much BL content in Japan, Japanese society is still not open to LGBT cultures, with parents forbidding their children to consume this queer content.

“Now everyone is open-minded in Thailand. Due to the success of Thailand’s BL series, many other countries are starting to produce them,” Hung added.

 

Sources: (1) (2) (3)

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