One Billion Views, Gangnam Style!

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South Korea is having a moment. Much-mimicked Gangnam Style, by PSY, has been viewed on YouTube more than 900 million times and is Google's most searched-for pop song for 2012. British Airways opened its new route to Seoul earlier this month.

You can come to South Korea to witness the attractive spring blossom, but I am here in winter and in the capital, Seoul, it is very chilly indeed.

The city, only 38 miles from the heavily guarded border with North Korea along the country's 38th parallel, is a thriving business hub, home to the headquarters of Samsung, Hyundai and LG among many others.

The country is one of the top three in the world for education. When I ask an expat what characterises a South Korean, he says hard work. That much is evident. With shops open for trade from 6pm to 6pm, I don't know when people fit in sleep.

But, as Gangnam Style demonstrates, this dedicated lot like to have a laugh.

Nanta, a popular show in town (which made its international debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) is indicative of their flair for comedy.

The Korean pop star has made YouTube history. On Friday, Gangnam Style became the first video to hit 1 billion views.

"PSY's success is a great testament to the universal appeal of catchy music-- and er, great equine dance moves," YouTube said in a statement. " In the past, music distribution was mostly regional. It was more difficult to learn about great artists from around the world. But with a global platform at their fingertips, people are now discovering and sharing amazing music from all over the planet, by artists like Brazilian Michel Teló and Belgian-Australian Gotye."

See the rest of YouTube's most popular videos for 2012 here.

But the news hasn't been all positive for PSY. Earlier this month, he was forced to apologize for anti-American remarks at a 2004 concert protesting the U.S. military presence in South Korea during the early stages of the Iraq war.

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