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, renewing her call for bold deregulation.
The South Korean show My Love from the Star has won legions of devoted fans in mainland China and Hong Kong since its debut in December.
But when they rushed to South Korean websites after each episode to buy the clothes worn by its stylish heroine Gianna Jun, they left empty-handed because online purchases required 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".
Yesterday she urged officials to work harder to strip away unnecessary regulations, in a bid to revitalise the 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.
My Love from the Star 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.