K-netizens are angry at NingNing, so fans are worry about aespa’s future in Korea.
aespa’s NingNing has recently become the target of criticism of Korean netizens after she sent a message on Bubble to congratulate the China team at the Beijing Winter Olympics. As a Chinese idol, it is normal that NingNing was happy for the results of her home country’s athletes. However, the victory of the Chinese players has been under controversy due to the suspicion of bias from the referee and alleged unfair play. On February 7, the Korean team lost to the Chinese team in the semifinals of the men’s 1000m short track, causing Korean netizens to vent their anger on NingNing.
An article about NingNing on Naver received over 20,000 angry reactions. Most Korean netizens find it unacceptable that NingNing makes money in Korea but openly supports China. Some even claim they are fed up with Chinese idols, and hope that SM Entertainment will stop debuting Chinese members.
NingNing’s controversy also makes many fans worried about aespa’s future. aespa just achieved huge success with skyrocketed popularity in 2021, but the unfortunate incident involving NingNing is likely to negatively affect aespa’s image in Korea moving forward. Many Korean netizens did not hesitate to say that they will stop listening to aespa music, or will only support the remaining 3 members. On social media, a video of NingNing’s photocard being cut has drawn much attention after a fan turned their back on the female idol.
In the midst of the intense competition of 4th generation girl groups in 2022, netizens are wondering if aespa will be able to retain their popularity, or will this be a chance for their competitors to rise to the top.
By the end of 2021 and early 2022, Kpop saw the debut of many strong rookie girl groups such as IVE, KEP1ER. NMIXX – JYP’s new girl group is also going to be launched soon, attracting the attention of many Korean fans. Not to mention Baby Monster – YG’s next girl group and HYBE’s upcoming girl group, all promise to be the most potential 4th generation girl groups that are expected to debut in 2022.
In such an unfavorable situation after NingNing’s controversy, along with the rise of many 4th gen competitors, it seems that aespa will have to work extra hard to maintain their impact in the harsh environment of the Kpop industry.
Of course, with SM’s support, aespa’s future is still somewhat secured. But having a Chinese member in the lineup will continue to be a risk for the group.