President Yoon Suk-yeol, on a state visit to the U.S., has attracted investment of $2.5 billion (3.3 trillion won) in Korean content from Netflix in a meeting with the streaming site's co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
President Yoon on April 24 announced the decision in a joint media announcement after his meeting with Sarandos at Blair House, the official guesthouse of the U.S. president, in Washington.
"Netflix is delighted to confirm that we will invest $2.5 billion in Korea," Sarandos said. "We were able to make this decision because of our great confidence in the Korean content industry, and we'll continue to make great stories."
"Thanks to the Korean creators, their compelling stories, these stories are now at the heart of the global cultural zeitgeist," he added. "I have no doubt that our investment will strengthen our long-term partnership with Korea and Korea's greatest creative ecosystem."
Sarandos said the investment is double what Netflix has invested (KRW 1.5 trillion) in the Korean creative ecosystem since entering Korea in 2016. He pledged to "continue to grow the global industry while sharing the joy of entertainment with Korean storytellers and their fans around the world."
President Yoon said, "This investment is a big opportunity for the Republic of Korea's content industry, creators and Netflix," adding, "I sincerely welcome Netflix's decision on an exceptional investment."
"This investment is not an end but a new beginning," he said. "I will work hard so that our creators and Netflix can fully display their capacity."
"Netflix's decision is considered very unusual because it has never before disclosed the scale of or plan for investment in a certain country," the Office of the President added. "We interpret this as Netflix's high evaluation of K-Content's potential and the president's willingness to promote it."
The president said, "I 100% agree with CEO Sarandos when he said relations between Netflix and Korean content companies are like the Korea-U.S. alliance," adding, "The Korea-U.S. alliance is an alliance of values that protects freedom but culture is a prerequisite to protecting and expanding freedom."
Sarandos said working with Korean creators is also a huge boost for Netflix, adding that Korean productions have great stories and Netflix is exporting Korean culture to the world.
President Yoon and CEO Sarandos showed each other video clips from their smartphones during their talks.
Their meeting was attended by Sarandos and other Netflix executives including Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria. The Korean side included first lady Kim Keon Hee, Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Choo Kyung-ho, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Bo Gyoon, and Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-Yang.