Another K-pop act jumps on the Weibo bandwagon.
BTS (Bangtan Boys) is the latest Korean entertainment act that’s opened an official account on China’s social media site, Weibo. The group joins numerous K-pop stars and groups that have opened Weibo accounts, as the Korean entertainment industry focuses on pursuing a Chinese-language fanbase.
As Hallyu grows more popular among Chinese language speakers, Korean celebrities are making a greater push to connect with fans in their native language.
Girls’ Generation, EXO, Super Junior, Nu’Est, Big Bang, Jessica Jung, Lee Jun Ki, Jung Joon Young, 2PM, 2NE1, CNBLUE, FTISLAND, Park Shin Hye, WINNER, Se7en, 2PM, B.A.P, Lee Minho, Shinhwa, Teen Top, VIXX, Kim Hyun Joong, and many other top Korean stars have official accounts, and the members of several of those idol groups managetheir individual accounts.
BTS is one of the latest to join, but definitely not the last.
The reason for this is clear: The Chinese language (made up of a variety of dialects) is spoken by over 1 billion people in the world, and communicating with the over 500 million registered Weibo users will help K-pop expand and reach millions of more people.
If people in China are listening to K-pop, watching Korean television and film, and paying for this content, millions of Chinese-language speakers throughout the world will also follow the trend.
Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, started in Asia during the 2000’s, growing popular due to Korean dramas and original K-pop acts.
Over the years, Japan was one of the largest music markets for K-pop music, with millions of listeners. Several Korean acts, like BoA, TVXQ, FTISLAND, Girls’ Generation, and Kara have made it extraordinarily big there. K-pop is still popular in Japan, but there is fear that Japan’s love of Hallyu is dying down, reports the Japan News. At the same time, Chinese tourists flock to South Korea in the thousands in order to see the placesand purchase items seen in dramas and worn by idols.
K-pop has many inroads in China, particularly idol groups like Super Junior, EXO, f(x), and miss A that incorporate Chinese members who promote in China; (both Super Junior and EXO have subgroups that focus solely on Chinese language promotions, Super Junior-M and EXO-M.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese interest in South Korea as a tourist destination is primarily due to Hallyu. It is clear why many Korean stars have joined Weibo, and there will likely be more setting up official accounts in the future.
On March 25, the Wall Street Journal published “No Sign of Letup in Chinese Demand for Korean Cosmetics,” and linked the demand for Korean products with the Korean entertainment industry, based on a Nielsen China study.
“Our study showed a direct correlation between interest in Korean entertainment and interest in Korean cosmetic brands, particularly among consumers in China,” one Nielsen China executive said.
High end brands like Jimmy Choos and Yves Saint Laurent have seen products demand grow after featuring in popular Korean dramas and being worn by K-pop stars.
The Chinese demand for South Korean products and trips to South Korea was previously called “staggering,” by a Wall Street Journal analyst, and as long as that demand is there, Korean stars will likely try to reach further into the Chinese market via Chinese language communication, beginning first and foremost with Weibo.
— BTS_official (@bts_bighit) March 24, 2015