From Boys’ Love Series to T-Pop: Thailand Emerges as a Soft Power in the Entertainment and Luxury Industry

In recent years, the Thai entertainment industry has witnessed a significant rise in popularity, conquering hearts worldwide with its unique content. This newfound fame can be attributed to the immense success of their boys’ love (BL) series, an art form that focuses on romantic relationships between male characters.

Rise of Thai Boys’ Love Series and KinnPorsche Phenomenon

One of the most popular BL series is KinnPorsche, a gripping tale of two young men, one heading a mafia family while the other serves as his bodyguard. With millions of viewers tuned into every episode, it’s no surprise that the show’s lead actors have become idols for fans worldwide since its launch in 2022. As South Korea previously captured global audiences with their K-pop music, so too has Thailand grabbed attention with its BL content, propelling the country to fame.

A New Era for Thai Celebrities and the Luxury Industry

Thai celebrities are quickly becoming international sensations, opening doors to collaborations with high-end luxury brands such as Dior Men. For example, Milé and Apo, the lead actors of KinnPorsche, were recently appointed ambassadors for the French fashion house after acquiring millions of Instagram followers each.

  • Apo shares how being an ambassador has broadened his horizons and introduced him to a new world.
  • Mile credits the humility and open-mindedness of Thais as key factors behind their success in the entertainment industry.

Their agent, Nichapat Suphap, has launched The Venture Management, a company connecting Thai talent with luxury brands, recognizing the potential market for these superstars who are making waves in the entertainment world.

Thailand: A Booming Market for Luxury Brands

With a growing number of Thai stars rising to fame, luxury brands previously targeting South Korean groups now have their eyes set on T-pop and its youthful influencers. Fashion weeks in Milan and Paris welcomed nine Thai celebrities last year – a testament to Thailand’s Soft Power Strategy.

The following are just a few examples of Thai actors collaborating with renowned fashion houses:

  • {@Louis Vuitton found a friend in Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund.}
  • {@Gucci collaborated with Davika Hoorne on both ancillary series and beauty products.>}
  • {@Balenciaga appointed PP Krit Amnuaydechkorn as an ambassador alongside Isabelle Huppert.}
  • {@Burberry formed a partnership with Bright Vachirawit.}
  • {@Valentino teamed up with Jeff Satur.}

During the Spring-Summer 2023 Fashion Weeks, the Earned Media Value of Thai stars present at shows reached an impressive $11 million.

Embracing the Soft Power Strategy

Analysts say that the success of Thailand’s BL genre came at a crucial time during the global pandemic, where the need for escape from reality was high, particularly among the LGBTQIA+ community. The country’s efforts to promote itself through entertainment aligns with businessman-turned-Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s inauguration in August 2023, targeting industries such as fashion, gastronomy, and entertainment.

Similar strategies were implemented by neighboring South Korea, which enjoyed lasting international influence through hit shows like Squid Game and immensely popular music groups like Blackpink.

Thailand: A Valuable Market for Luxury Brands

Apart from its notable contributions to entertainment, Thailand is also a lucrative market for luxury industries due to its strategic position within Asia. With 30 million foreign visitors in 2023 alone, the country becomes an attractive hub for high-end tourists hailing from various regions, including neighboring China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Cambodia.

RTG Group Asia values Thailand’s luxury market at a stunning $4.06 billion in 2023, with a projected annual growth rate of 5.62%.

Future Developments and Expansion

In response to this lucrative potential, prestigious shopping centers are springing up all over the country. For example, upcoming developments include the One Bangkok complex, complete with luxury hotels and boutiques. Additionally, the expansion of the Siam Piwat group, which already owns multiple malls, further indicates the significant role Thailand plays as a center for luxury consumption.

In conclusion, Thailand’s booming entertainment industry and rapidly growing luxury market reflect a new era of soft power for the South Asian nation. The increasing popularity of Thai boys’ love series and T-pop icons collaborating with high-end fashion labels demonstrates just how influential—and profitable—the Land of Smiles has become on the global stage.