SM Entertainment boyband NCT’s “infinite” expansion will come to an end in 2023, the K-pop agency has confirmed.
On February 25, SM Entertainment shared the latest in its series of videos about its new ‘SM 3.0’ strategy. In this video, SM’s co-CEOs Chris Lee and Tak Young-jun answered fan questions and also announced the end of boyband NCT’s expansion in 2023. First introduced in 2016, NCT has one rotational sub-unit, NCT U, as well as fixed sub-units NCT 127, NCT Dream and WayV.
The agency had initially planned for the group to expand “infinitely”, with new members and sub-units constantly being launched to target different territories and demographics. However, SM has since shared that the upcoming Japan-based NCT Tokyo’s debut will be the final NCT sub-unit to be added.
“With the debut of NCT Tokyo (tentative name) in 2023, NCT’s infinite expansion is scheduled to end,” the agency shared. “We are officially announcing that there will be no more member changes, and we will support the existing members as much as possible so they can engage in much more diverse activities.”
It was just two months ago that SM Entertainment’s founder Lee Soo-man teased a potential NCT sub-unit based in Singapore, and shared that NCT Saudi Arabia was also in the works. Plans to launch the US-based NCT Hollywood via a reality competition series were also discussed in 2021. These projects have presumably been axed under the SM 3.0 strategy; SM has also severed ties with Lee Soo-man in a much-publicised dispute connected to HYBE’s acquisition of SM.
According to an investment report released last week, NCT Tokyo are set to make their debut in April with their first mini-album. Previously introduced members Shotaro and Sungchan will be part of the group’s line-up. The remaining members of NCT Tokyo have not been revealed, though fans speculate Japanese NCT 127 member Yuta will also join the group.
Elsewhere in the video, SM’s two co-CEOs introduced two changes: improved disclosure and execution of artists’ activities, as well as more evenly distributed content and opportunities across the agency’s roster.
While answering a fan question about the wellbeing of SM’s artists, they also announced its newly established Artist Care Centre, which will manage the mental and physical health of its artists through personalised counselling and sleep and stress management.
The new centre will also support the “self-development” of artists, which include additional post-debut vocal, dance and language classes, should the artist wish to participate.