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With BTS taking a break from group activities, who will lead the next wave of Hallyu?

With BTS focusing on solo activities, K-Pop fans have raised the question the next leader of the next Hallyu wave.

Recently, BTS announced that they would suspend group activities in the near future to focus on each member’s individual projects. This also means that BTS will no longer participate in the K-pop race as a group. Then who will be the bright candidate to replace BTS to lead the upcoming K-Pop wave?

bts 64th grammy

Among the listed candidates, BLACKPINK is considered the strongest candidate to become the next K-Pop artist (after BTS) since they are currently the most popular K-Pop girl group in the world. According to the global Hallyu trends report in 2021 published by the Korea International Culture Exchange, the top Korean artist in the K-Pop field is BLACKPINK, following BTS. This is also the second year in a row that BLACKPINK is ranked 2nd in this report.

BTS
BTS taking a break from group activities and focusing on their solo activities could be an opportunity for another group to become the leader of the next Hallyu wave. (Photo; Bighit Music)

In fact, even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the influence of the Hallyu wave is still growing globally. Korean exports related to Hallyu are still growing steadily, reaching 10.175 billion USD in 2021, up to 9% from the previous year. This also means that the Hallyu wave will not stop after the news that BTS is suspending group activities; it just needs another leader.

Experts point out that BTS and BLACKPINK have been the center of attention in the K-Pop’s global popularity in recent years. If you look at the ranking of the most popular K-Pop artists voted by foreign audiences last year, it is easy to see that BTS is at the top with 22% of the votes, followed by BLACKPINK with 12.5%. However, it must be added that the percentage difference between these two positions is a huge number, up to 10%. In 3rd place but far behind are Psy with 2.5%, TWICE 2.4% and EXO 2.1%.

BLACKPINK
BLACKPINK is predicted to become the next leader of the K-Pop wave.
PSY
Psy is also a globally famous K-Pop artist. (Image: Getty Images)

On YouTube, BLACKPINK’s popularity is shown even clearer. As of June 16, the number of subscribers to the YouTube channel of the 4 YG girls has reached 74.7 million, ranking first among artists worldwide.

Since their debut in 2016, the group has become incredibly popular. Two years later, they signed with Interscope Records, a record label under Universal Music. The group has built international recognition through collaborating with world-class pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa and Cardi B.

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In addition, another aspect of BLACKPINK that can be considered as one of the reasons why the group easily reaches the world is that the 4 members all have different cultural backgrounds: Jisoo grew up in Korea, Rosé grew up in Korea, Jennie grew up in New Zealand and studied abroad while Lisa came from Thailand. According to information from YG, the BLACKPINK girls will make a comeback this year after 2 years of hiatus. Thus, BLACKPINK’s 2022 comeback may be more explosive than ever.

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