K-pop agency SM Entertainment reportedly to export idol training system to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will also allegedly host an SMTOWN concert sometime this year

South Korean music label SM Entertainment will expand to the Middle East, in a new partnership with Saudi Arabia.

SM Entertainment, which is home to top K-pop acts such as Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, NCT, aespa and more, is planning to export its idol-producing system over to Saudi Arabia, according to The Korea Economic Daily.

SM Entertainment founder and chief producer Lee Soo-man is said to have visited the Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh last month, at the invitation of the Saudi government, according to South Korean entertainment industry sources that spoke to The Korea Economic Daily.

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The kingdom’s Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud., who is also the assistant Minister Of Tourism, reportedly spoke to Lee about wanting to learn about SM Entertainment’s systems and procedures for nurturing artists. This is reportedly part of the Middle Eastern nation’s plans to develop the country’s entertainment industry.

In addition, Lee has reportedly been an advisor for Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya initiative, an entertainment megaproject in Riyadh, since 2019. The company is also aiming to expand its K-pop business to the Middle East through this partnership.

According to Lee, the company plans to hold several gigs in Saudi Arabia this year: “We will hold an SMTOWN concert by all of SM artists, as well as an EDM show in Saudi Arabia within this year”. However, SM Entertainment has yet to confirm the report.

In other SM Entertainment news, CJ ENM, one of the largest entertainment and media companies in South Korea, is said to be in talks to buy a controlling stake of the K-pop agency.

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