Korean stars are heading back to China, but the Korean entertainment industry remains alert to political variables.
On the 18th, the keyword “韩流真的来了吗” (Is Hallyu Really Coming?) trended as a real-time search term on Chinese Weibo. Recently, news of Korean stars visiting China for schedules caught the attention of Chinese netizens, leading to the interest in this keyword.
One of the pieces of news is that singer Hyuna will be performing at a music festival in Wuhan, China, scheduled for June 17th ~ 18th. Through an Instagram Live on the 17th, Hyuna directly revealed, “Many of you have been asking, but I am going to an event in China.”
Jung Yong Hwa also posted a photo on Weibo on the 17th, saying, “Long time no see, Beijing”, indicating his visit to Beijing, China. It was revealed that Jung Yong Hwa is serving as a judge on a Chinese audition program. Photos from the recording set of the program were also shared on Weibo.
Korean stars’ activities in China have been blocked since the implementation of the Hallyu Restriction Order, which originated from the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in 2016. Although there have been signs of Korean content entering the Chinese market through OTT platforms, the progress of Korean content’s expansion in China has been hindered by changes in the relationship between the two countries. In the meantime, many people interpret the news of Korean stars visiting China as the possibility of the Hallyu Restriction Order getting lifted.
However, the entertainment industry doesn’t view this situation with a positive attitude. Entertainment insiders who know the Chinese market said, “The rapid changes in the relationship between China and Korea are heavily influenced by political factors”.
According to these officials, various Korean stars were invited and cast to appear in recent Chinese audition programs for boy groups, but the plans fell through.
Additionally, a famous girl group recently announced that they would hold a face-to-face fansigning event in China, but they did not disclose the specific location and time. They plan to finalize the fansigning event schedule after considering the atmosphere in China carefully.
An insider commented, “It is true that the overall atmosphere is gradually improving compared to the early days of the Hallyu Restriction Order, but there is still no clear signal for activities, such as K-pop singers holding solo concerts”, adding “We still have to cautiously observe the Chinese market.”