Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Taiwanese fans go wild for S Korean bands

CULTURE CLUB:Meeting fans has also proven highly lucrative for South Korean bands, with the lead singer of boy band SS501 reportedly making tens of millions of NT dollars

By Cheng Yi-hsun  /  Staff reporter

Members of the South Korean boy group Super Junior pose for a publicity photo on Feb. 4, during a series of four concerts at the Taipei Arena.

Photo: Pan Shao-tang, Taipei Times

Targeting Taiwan’s unprecedented craze for South Korean culture and pop artists, 15 pop groups and singers from South Korea have taken turns holding packed concerts around the country this year, raking in hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars — in just four months.

Spearheading the series of fast-selling events, 12-member boy band Super Junior staged a concert at the Taipei Arena in February, followed by 14 bands and singers who came to Taiwan to hold “big-bucks events.”

The South Korean performers have generated NT$400 million (US$13.49 million) since February, statistics showed.

Earning the most money were the four concerts staged by Super Junior at the Taipei Arena from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5, which generated an estimated NT$151 million and attracted more than 40,000 -Taiwanese fans over the four days, observers said.

Coming next was the SM Town concert at the Hsinchu County Stadium on June 9 — an annual tour concert held by SM Entertainment, the country’s largest record label.

That included 46 South Korean pop artists, including Super Junior, five-member girl band the Wonder Girls, pop singer BoA and duo band Tong Vfang Xien Qi, who performed a joint concert.

The event attracted 28,000 fans, the highest amount ever recorded for a single concert by South Korean singers, and raked in NT$117.6 million.

A concert by four-man rock band CNBLUE in Taipei on Feb. 28 was in third place in terms of earnings, making about NT$27 million for the newly established band after selling out all 8,000 tickets, some priced as high as NT$5,600, in 13 minutes.

Rounding out the top five most profitable events were concerts by five-member boy band Five Treasure Island, or FT Island, in Taipei on May 26, which earned NT$23 million, and a concert by six-member boy band BEAST in late March, which earned about NT$20 million.

Aside from concerts, events in which South Korean pop stars meet and greet their fans are also highly profitable, with Kim Hyun-joong, leader of boy band SS501, and three-member boy band JYJ both reportedly earning tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars through such events.

Other popular bands and artists profiting off these events, including five-member girl band KARA, five-member boy band SHINee, six-member boy band Teen Top and Kim Kyu-jong, a member of the boy band SS501, all earned large sums of money, ranging from NT$3 million to NT$5 million, from -Taiwanese fans.

Industry insiders say they expect Taiwan’s enthusiasm for anything South Korean to continue through the second half of this year, with more South Korean pop stars expected, such as celebrated actors Song Joong-ki and Jang Keun-suk, five-member boy band MBLAQ and five-member boy band BIGBANG.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer

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