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SM Entertainment Says Talks With EXO's Tao Are Ongoing Amidst Alleged Departure

By Tamar Herman | June 12, 2015 09:45 AM EDT

SM Entertainment hopes to work with EXO member Tao, even after the star announced the establishment of a personal agency in China amidst rumors of leaving the group. 

The Korean entertainment company released a statement on June 12, following the news of Tao setting up Huang Z. TAO studio in China. The statement said that SM Entertainment is in talks with Tao in order to maintain a business relationship.

 "We heard the news about Tao Workshop [Huang Z. TAO Studio,]" SM Entertainment's official statement said, according to eNews. "We are still discussing how to head in a progressive direction."

There has been much speculation about Tao's departure from EXO, following his absence and two previous exits from the once twelve-member boy band, and the new studio appears to signal a confirmed departure despite SM Entertainment's statement.  

Tao was previously embroiled in departure rumors after he returned to China and his father issued a series of statements saying that the Chinese member of EXO had been mismanaged by SM Entertainment.

On June 11, Tao opened an official Weibo account for Huang Z. Tao Studio.

"Hello! This is Huang Z. Tao official studio," the first message on the account said. "From now on, news related to Tao will be released through here [the account.]"

Earlier this week, Tao continued his burgeoning career in China with a new endorsement deal as the new face of Bugles snack brand as SM Entertainment said that negotiations were ongoing.

Since the departures of former EXO members Kris (Wu Yi Fan) and Luhan, SM Entertainment has taken steps to minimize potential losses. SM set up personal agencies in China for EXO's Lay and f(x)'s Victoria, two other Chinese K-pop idols working for the label, and hopes to find a middle ground with Tao. 

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Tamar Herman is a multi-media journalist and the co-founder of KultScene. She is a freelance writer and copy editor, and an MTV Iggy contributor. Tamar can be followed on Twitter.

Tagged :  EXO, tao, SM Entertainment

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