K-showbiz insiders explain why not all mutil-national groups can be as successful as TWICE.
JYP Entertainment’s CEO, Park Jin-young, was the one to represent Creator’s Forum to deliver a speech in MAMA 2015, and at that time he deemed that the key factor that led to K-pop’s success lied in “communication”. He once took TWICE as an example for his claim that communication among foreign members would be the future of K-pop when this girl group made an official debut with 3 Japanese members and one Taiwanese. At the moment, TWICE has become a leading Asian girl group, not only in Korea but beyond, proving Park Jin Young’s statement.
At present, there are many idol groups that include members who come from China and Japan and it’s hard to find an idol group that has debuted recently or is about to debut without foreign members. They are expressing images of multinational idols and pushing the challenge of the music industry with a blueprint for global activities. Multinational members are linguistically helpful, naturally gaining from their local fandom and play a role as a bridgehead for overseas activities.
“Multi-national girl groups are easy to attack global fans“, an insider said, “Once the Chinese members join the team, it is relatively easy to form a Chinese fan base and, moreover, easier to target the Chinese market or enter Hong Kong or Southeast Asia’s.“
However, it is likely that global idols who were born without careful preparation are going to be like “glitters but not gold”. In fact, there are groups that showed noticeable differences in each member’s ability due to the difference in the amount of training time of the Korean members and the foreign members.
Also, many groups are still lacking in many aspects in order to be called “global idols”. In addition, there are rumors recently that some members of a group were even related to some Chinese investors. An insider said, “The fact that we have talented members but still put some other ones that attract the foreign investors has made people think we are starting to develop a bad perception. However, their training period before debuting as an idol has been much shorter than in the past, and I think it is better for a group to be a multinational which is more favorable to foreign fans than to plainly have Korean members only“
Another agency official said, “Each group and member has a different background. There are foreign members who have dreamt to be idols ever since they were young, but there are others who are instructed by Chinese investors as well. We are worried that some members might collapse because being idol to them is more like a hobby rather than a proper work that need efforts to maintain”.