Lee Jong Suk has become so popular that he is called one of the “Fantastic Four of Hallyu.” The other three actors are Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Min Ho and Kim Woo Bin. The actors are so called because of their popularity in other countries, especially China.
Lee’s recent dramas, “School 2013,” and “I Hear Your Voice” were especially popular in China. Interest in his current drama “Doctor Stranger” was promoted before it began when the drama’s producers streamed scenes of the drama’s filming on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
So far, the drama has been downloaded 150 million times on Youku and Todou, the Chinese versions of YouTube. Downloads are expected to surpass 600 million by the time the drama ends. The expectations are based on the fact that “I Hear Your Voice” was downloaded 350 million times by its last episode.
Lee Jong Suk has made several trips to China recently. He spent Valentine’s Day in Shanghai, singing romantic songs to his fans and reading a handwritten letter, which made him cry. Over 2,000 Chinese fans attended. In March Lee Jong Suk opened his own Weibo account and posted the comment that he was on his way to Beijing. He also uploaded a selfie in which he wore a white shirt and an earring. A mere 30 minutes after opening his account he already had 100,000 followers.
Some of his Chinese fans later joined Korean fans to hire buffet catering for the staff of “Doctor Stranger.” Given the success of the medical drama Chinese media is eager to interview the actor and Chinese companies have offered him commercial opportunities.
In “Doctor Stranger,” Lee Jong Suk plays a genius doctor from North Korea. After his character flees North Korea along with his childhood love, he loses her and thinks she died. He finds out she is still alive and tries to bring her to South Korea. He begins to work at a hospital to raise the money to find her but then becomes involved in a medical and romantic rivalry with a South Korean doctor played by Park Hae Jin.
Some of the drama’s success in China can also be attributed to the popularity of Park Hae Jin, who starred in four Chinese dramas and gained even more popularity when he had a role in another Hallyu hit, “You Who Came From The Stars.” In that drama he played a chaebol in love with Jun Ji Hyun.