K-pop label SM Entertainment to set up Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore

Founder Lee Soo-man also teased the formation of NCT sub-units from Tokyo, Saudi Arabia and potentially Singapore

South Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment will be setting up its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore.

CNBC reported yesterday (November 30) that the label – home to some of K-pop’s top acts such as aespa, NCT, Girls’ Generation, EXO and more – has plans to expand its operations in the Southeast Asian region by setting up headquarters for the region in Singapore. According to CNBC, SM Entertainment are currently in the process of recruitment for its Singapore branch.

SM Entertainment’s Singapore base of operations will be “managing joint ventures in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as communicating with [its South Korea office] for other related ventures and plans.” Lee Soo-man, founder of SM Entertainment, also told the outlet that he would be keen on launching an NCT sub-unit in the region dubbed NCT Singapore, however it remains unclear if these plans have been set in stone.

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Despite declining to share specifics of the company’s investment in its expansion into Singapore, representatives of SM have shared that it is currently “in the midst of hiring more local talents, which will hopefully increase the full-time staff count”. Its Singaporean office is also looking to hire “local undergraduates or fresh graduates for internships”.

As part of its operations in the Southeast Asian region, SM Entertainment has also teased plans for several upcoming projects once it settles into the region, including retail businesses, pop-up exhibitions, cafes and merchandise stores in the city-state. SM Entertainment also disclosed vague plans to gradually expand their operations not just to other countries in Southeast Asia, but to the wider Asian continent, including the Middle East.

Lee also shared several future plans for SM Entertainment and its 23-member boyband NCT: new sub-units for NCT – namely NCT Saudi and NCT Tokyo – are currently in the works. Additionally, SM Entertainment supergroup SuperM (comprising SHINee’s Taemin, EXO’s Kai and Baekhyun as well as NCT’s Mark, Taeyong, Ten and Lucas) were teased by Lee to be making a comeback announcement sometime in early 2023.

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