Are Chinese Idols Disappearing From The K-Pop Industry?

Fans have noticed less Chinese idols debuting these days.

While K-Pop is based in Korea, this does not mean K-Pop idols are only Korean. Over the years, many popular non-Korean idols have made their debut, like BLACKPINK‘s Lisa or TWICE‘s Japanese line, Mina, Sana, and Momo.

BLACKPINK’s Lisa | acme de la vie
TWICE’s Momo, Mina, and Sana | JYP Entertainment

Many Chinese idols debuted in K-Pop in third-generation groups, including NCT, WJSN, and EXO.

WJSN | Starship Entertainment

But there has been a decline as of late, with some supporting evidence.

In the past, many entertainment companies held auditions in many places worldwide, including many cities in Chinese-speaking countries. With their most recent auditions, ADOR seems to have skipped China auditions while going to other global locations.

ADOR’s 2023 Audition Schedule

When you look at recently debuted trending groups like IVE, LE SSERAFIM, and NewJeans, all have members of different nationalities, but none are Chinese.

IVE’s Rei is Japanese.
LE SSERAFIM’s Sakura (right) and Kazuha (left) are Japanese. | @IM_LESSERAFIM/Twitter
NewJeans’ Hanni (left) is Vietnamese, and Danielle (right) is Korean-Australian.

A few possible things could have contributed to this recent development.  For one, political tensions led to bans on Hallyu content, with some platforms like Tencent only resuming streaming content late last year, according to Reuters.

Hotel By The River poster, the first Korean film Tencent began streaming after the ban.

Many Chinese idols that debuted in K-Pop groups were victims of alleged mistreatment and mismanagement by their companies — Several Chinese members of EXO filed lawsuits to nullify their contracts;  Lai Guanlin was in a multi-year legal battle with Cube Entertainment; fans were left wondering about the status of former WJSN members Xuanyi, Chengxiao, and Meiqi for years.

Tao (right) and Luhan (left) during their time in EXO.
Lai Guanlin
(left to right) Meiqi, Chengxiao, and Xuanyi.

Fans of WayV also feel the group has been very mismanaged and every recently brought up the fact that the group has not held their own concert in the four years since their debut.

WayV | SM Entertainment

This is not to say there are no Chinese K-Pop idols or trainees making waves in Korea. ZEROBASEONE‘s Zhang Hao made history as the first Chinese trainee to win a Mnet survival series and is the group’s center, while Ricky also ranked high in the show’s final vote.

ZEROBASEONE’s Ricky | Mnet

What is your opinion on this matter?

Source: Reuters
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