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Squid Game-related products boom in China even though Netflix is not accessible locally

Product pages are filled with inquiries from customers asking if sellers can deliver orders by Halloween

Costumes from the critically-acclaimed Netflix’s Korean drama Squid Game are booming on e-commerce platforms in China, even though the show has not been released in the country as Netflix is not available.

Squid Game, a show where people who are in debt stake their lives on winning a big sum of money by playing deadly childhood games, became the first Korean drama to top Netflix's top 10 weekly most-watched TV show charts globally and reached No. 1 in 90 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

This is all the more remarkable as Netflix did not promote the show heavily in these countries. The popularity of the show was driven by word of mouth and virality instead.

How popular are Squid Game-related merchandise online?

  • Some of the top search results on Coupang, one of the biggest e-commerce sites in South Korea, for the show’s products are listed by companies based in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as Anhui province, among others.

  • Product pages are filled with inquiries from customers asking if sellers can deliver orders by Halloween.

  • These product offerings are also available on Alibaba’s Taobao, China’s biggest domestic shopping app, and on international wholesaler Alibaba.com.

  • A Chinese merchant cashed in on the success of the show and sold more than 2,000 black masks in three days during the first week of the show’s debut. So far, the store has made more than 300,000 yuan (US$46,535) from the sale.

  • Squid Game has received a rating of 7.7 out of 10 from more than 229,800 users on Douban, China’s largest movie and book review platform. It is currently ranked the third-most-popular film and television show.

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