The show is the latest manifestation of the ever-growing influence of South Korea's popular culture

Los Angeles (AFP) - Dystopian South Korean drama “Squid Game” has become Netflix’s most popular series launch ever, drawing 111 million fans since its debut less than four weeks ago, the streaming service said Tuesday.

The unprecedented global viral hit imagines a macabre world in which marginalized people are pitted against one another in traditional children’s games.

While the victor can earn millions in cash, losing players are killed.

Spreading around the world by word of mouth, especially via social media, “Squid Game” has topped Netflix charts in more than 80 countries.

“Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans – making it our biggest series launch ever!” tweeted Netflix.

By comparison, Regency romp “Bridgerton” reached 82 million households on debut, using Netflix’s internal metric which includes any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.

The success of “Squid Game” amplifies South Korea’s increasingly outsized influence on global popular culture, following the likes of K-pop band BTS and Oscar-winning movie “Parasite.”

It is also the latest success for Netflix’s bid to produce more international and non-English language content. The streamer’s third most-watched series debut for instance is French-language “Lupin.”

Netflix offers “Squid Game” in both dubbed and subtitled versions in multiple languages, expanding its potential audience.

In February, the world’s most popular streaming platform announced plans to spend $500 million this year alone on series and films produced in South Korea.