SEOUL, June 14 (UPI) -- McDonald's limited edition "BTS Meal" -- and all its parts, including the food wrappers -- are becoming collectible items, with the dipping sauces being resold online at grossly inflated prices.
McDonald's launched the meal in May in collaboration with the K-pop phenomenon. To be released in almost 50 countries, the highly sought-after meal comes in a purple box decorated with the BTS logo and consists of nine Chicken McNuggets, sweet chili and Cajun sauces, medium fries and a drink.
For many fans, everything inside the limited edition meal has become a collectible item - from the bag the meal comes in to the purple paper boxes, as well as the dipping sauces.
On eBay, two unopened sweet chili and Cajun sauces from the BTS Meal were listed for hundreds of dollars. The meal costs around $10 at McDonald's.
Experts say some fervent fans of the band who live in countries like China and Japan, where the themed meal is not yet available, may willingly spend the money to participate in the global trend.
"While I'm not sure how many will purchase dipping sauces for $500, I would not be surprised if some spent hundreds of dollars," Lee Eun-hee, a consumer studies professor at Inha University, told UPI News Korea.
"For hardcore BTS fans, the dipping sauces aren't about eating nuggets. These are limited-edition items that can be collected and preserved by fans."
The South Korean government is riding the wave of BTS's global popularity as a way to attract more people to learn the Korean language.
The Ministry of Education announced Thursday that it will use lyrics of BTS songs and the boy group's video clips to develop Korean language learning materials for entry- and intermediate-level students.
According to the ministry, up to 39 countries across the world taught the Korean language in their schools last year. That figure is expected to rise to 43 in 2021 and 45 in 2022.
In particular, the Korean language-learning boom is strong in Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, where the BTS phenomenon has also been explosive.
Last week, McDonald's restaurants in Indonesia were flooded with orders for the BTS Meal, with some restaurants ordered to close because of COVID-19 restrictions. Delivery workers on motorcycles could be seen lined around city blocks after taking orders.
The band continues to smash records with its latest release, "Butter," which topped Spotify's single-day streams list and became the fastest music video to reach 200 million views on YouTube.