By Lee Hyo-sik
Hanwha Engineering & Construction (E&C) has arranged for Heo Jun, a popular Korean TV drama depicting the life of a royal doctor in the 17th century, to be shown in Iraq in May through the national broadcaster Al Iraqiya.
The builder, which is currently building a massive $8 billion housing complex near Baghdad, seeks to spread ''hallyu,'' or the Korean cultural wave, in the Middle Eastern country by broadcasting the drama aired on MBC here in 1999.
''Airing Heo Jun is part of our efforts to publicize Korea in Iraq. We picked the drama because it is best suited to show how diligent and creative Koreans are,'' a Hanwha E&C spokesman said. ''We bought the broadcasting rights from MBC and has been able to schedule the airing of the drama on Al Iraqiya, thanks to support from Iraq's National Investment Committee and the Korean Embassy.''
Heo Jun is the life story of Heo (1539 to 1615), a court physician during the reign of King Seonjo who authored the influential medical textbook "Dongeuibogam.''
The spokesman said Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn instructed company officials to create a hallyu boom in the Middle Eastern nation after Hanwha E&C won a contract to build 100,000 houses and other urban infrastructure in Bismayah, a suburb southeast of Baghdad, in May 2012.
It is the largest single construction contract ever won by a Korean builder. The new city will be built on 1,830 hectares and is expected to take seven years to complete.
''The airing of Heo Jun will help promote mutual understanding and cultural exchanges between Korea and Iraq,'' said Hanwha E&C vice chairman and CEO Kim Hyun-chung. ''The hallyu boom will definitely help improve Korea's image in the Middle Eastern country and create a more business-friendly environment for other Korean companies.''
The builder plans to implement more corporate social responsibility activities and promotional campaigns to raise the awareness of Korea in Iraq.