[★K:OP-ED] Yang Hyun Suk questioned for his tactics on WINNER’s and iKON’s overseas expansions

With WINNER sent to Japan just after debut and iKON set to enter the Chinese industry once their debut takes place in 2015, YG Entertainment‘s Yang Hyun Suk is being questioned for his tactics on the two groups’ overseas expansion.

WINNER and iKON are two boy groups who have trained and matured together as brother bands under YG Entertainment. Older brother group, WINNER, debuted first in August 2014 while younger brother group, iKON, is preparing for their debut in January 2015. These two groups, which display completely different inclinations, will even be separated into two other overseas markets, Japan and China.

WINNER and iKON first became known as Team A and Team B through a 2013 survival show program on Mnet called, WIN: Who Is Next. At the time, Team A won and became WINNER while Team B members resumed their training. However, in 2014, Team B returned to a new survival program called MIX & MATCH on Mnet, where the members battle to become the new group, iKON.

After making their debut last August, WINNER entered the Japanese market in the following month where they have been promoting as rookies nonstop. The group even opened up a set of concerts in Japan just after the release of their debut album. This was all thanks to being able to guest perform at BIGBANG‘s Japan tour stops as the opening act, which strongly helped with the formation of their current fan base. Subsequently, WINNER was able to open “WINNER 1st Japan Tour 2014” where they performed 11 shows at five different stops including Tokyo, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Osaka with an audience of over 25,000 fans.

Currently, WINNER is preparing for a new album. Regarding this report, Yang Hyun Suk, CEO of YG Entertainment, stated, “WINNER is not a group that we debuted solely looking at the South Korean market. They are running parallel with South Korean and Japanese activities. WINNER is not a group that should be limited to just one [country]. This group surely will not be particular or picky with any one genre, so they plan on showing much more in the future. WINNER will become just like their seniors, BIGBANG, and will continue to be a growing group.”

On the other hand, however, iKON is currently still undergoing the completion of the group, waiting to see who will arise as the final members. On the 22nd, iKON held their final match at the Korea University Hwajung Gymnasium in Seoul. As many as 150,000 fans participated in the ticketing event and attended the final match, showing much of their heated attention towards the group.

CEO Yang Hyun Suk announced, “The responses toward iKON in China were explosive. Although iKON will be attempting to penetrate the Chinese market, this does not mean that they will be entering right away,” he continued, “iKON will first build a sturdy base by promoting sufficiently in South Korea before entering the Chinese market. We need time to first repay the South Korean fans who have been waiting so long for iKON’s debut.”

It seems that the expectations CEO Yang Hyun Suk showed for iKON’s entrance into the Chinese market are huge. However, he pointed out that it was more important for iKON to focus on South Korean activities for a substantial amount of time first after debuting.

So far, YG Entertainment has not yet had an artist who successfully attempted the Chinese market, but we’ve decided that now is the time to adjust to the current market [in China] and aim again. iKON will be that first runner up. All this time, our overseas expansions were adjusted to focus on Japan. BIGBANG prepared for a long time to enter the Japanese market and ultimately was able to accomplish a Tokyo Dome tour with an audience of 800,000 fans. We have long-term plans ready for iKON to head to China. We will steadily prepare for iKON’s infiltration in China without any impatient rushing.

The above article is a translation of a Korean opinion editorial written by Kim Yena, a journalist of TV Report.