Korean film exports fell by 32.9% last year, according to new data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

Sales companies sold 279 films to 41 countries for a total of $14.1m (KRW16.4bn) last year. The previous year, 354 films sold to the same number of countries for a total of $21m. KOFIC’s study attributes the fall to the slump in local production during 2007 and 2008, as well as the indirect effects of the global financial crisis.

Asia still accounts for the majority of sales, taking up 72.43% (up from 61.67% year-on-year), with Europe taking 16.8% (down from 42.7%) and North America buying 6.31% (down from 71.6%).

Broken down by country, Japanese buyers accounted for 42.1% of the export total, a similar level to 2008. But they spent $5,944,587 – down 33.9% - from $8,989,455 the year before; while sales to China rose sharply 78.4% to $1m. The figure is similar to that of sales to the much smaller market of Taiwan, which also went up 22.9% to $1m.

Sales to France went down 44.5% to $834,700 while North American sales went down 74% to $811,555.

The government body also noted upon international business developments besides the export of completed films. This includes CJ Entertainment’s joint venture in Japan, co-production with Universal on Park Chan-wook’s Thirst (pictured), US-based Symphony 3D Holdings acquiring Korean 3D solution provider MasterImage, and Korean stars such as Rain (a.k.a. Jung Ji-hoon), Lee Byung-hun and Daniel Henney making it into Hollywood films such as Ninja Assassin, G.I. Joe, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.