The high popularity of South Korean pop culture has helped the country earn more money in its intellectual property rights (IPR) from abroad last year from a year ago, data showed Sunday. According to data by the Bank of Korea, South Korean companies associated with Korean pop culture earned US$800 million in royalties from IPRs overseas in 2012, up 17.6 percent or $120 million from $680 million in the previous year. The figure represented 23.3 percent of South Korea’s overall IPR income from abroad in 2012 of $3.44 billion, up 7.6 percentage points from 2011. Among the Korean companies related to the Korean pop culture, online game companies were the biggest contributor to the rise in the country’s IPR overseas income. Royalties earned by Korean online game companies stood at $680 million in 2012, up four-fold from $170 million in 2007. Entertainment, broadcasting and film companies posted $120 million in royalties last year, six times higher than 2007. Royalties on overseas movies, online games, music and dramas paid by South Korean companies reached $210 million last year. Last year, South Korea’s trade surplus in IPRs from pop culture rose 10-fold to $590 million from $60 million in 2007. South Korea, meanwhile, recorded a trade deficit of $4.95 billion in IPRs from the industrial sector last year, as a rise in smartphone and semiconductor exports increased patent fee payments.