BIGBANG‘s Seungri is not only a successful veteran K-Pop idol, but also a rising CEO in the business world. He now oversees a HR company in its 5th year, a Japanese ramen restaurant with 40+ franchises nationwide, a club that sells million dollar liquor sets, a record label now merged under YG Entertainment, and more.
While many from the K-Pop scene try their hands on business, it is rare to see one succeed as notably as Seungri. Most fail to balance the superstar life with the entrepreneurial life and end up giving up one or the other. Seungri, on the other hand, has been cleverly maintaining the “maknae (막내, the youngest) member of BIGBANG” side of him, along with his business mastermind side.
In a recent interview, Seungri revealed what led him to venture into the business world is actually the fact that he was the youngest — and so the most underestimated — member.
“I believe I have always had the survival instinct in me since [BIGBANG days]. Business was the one area that I could try without overlapping with the other members.”
Yet his identity as a huge, global K-Pop idol helped develop his business opportunities and opened doors which otherwise may not have opened for him.
“When celebrities enter the business world, they themselves become the platform for promotions. It is easier to attract the attention, without having to pay for the marketing. It is also easier for celebrity businesses to branch outside of Korea and become global entities… I focused on finding partners who would benefit from these powers I hold as a celebrity while making up for weaknesses and risks that I bring with such a reputation.”
With these networks of partners supporting and being supported by Seungri, his businesses, like the ramen restaurant, have grown strong and steady.
Another winning factor for Seungri’s ramen franchise is that Seungri himself is a huge ramen lover. When the passion runs under the business, Seungri claims it is the recipe for success.
Seungri toured all over Japan, benchmarking different ramen restaurants. He then invested in securing a broth production line first, before branching out, so that all locations can guarantee a singular flavor under his “Aori” brand.
For fellow entrepreneurs, Seungri advised that he learned early on that “greed” and “excessive confidence” are two things that become toxic in the business world. After failed attempts at real estate and electronic sales, Seungri realized he cannot succeed at what he does not know.
“I don’t ever want to work with real estate or electronics again. Those businesses gave me a hard time when I was still young… I was talked into buying land and had my money tied up for a long time. That was difficult. Since then I haven’t thought about real estate. I also invested in some groundbreaking electronics, but I failed at that too. Why did I, as someone who has never been interested in such electronic devices, think that I could sell them? I wasn’t interested in what I was trying to do, so it didn’t work out too well.”
As a business man, Seungri’s goals are clear.
“I’m not looking to “make it big” or get rich from these businesses. I simply want to maintain enough money so I can support my parents, eat good foods, travel when I want, and ultimately become a stable husband and a father to my own family in the future.”
Seungri also has high hopes for his idol career, once all the BIGBANG members including himself complete their military duties.
“I look forward to making music again, once I return to BIGBANG post-military. For my fans who have been so loyal for the past 13 years, I now want to return the love for decades to come.”