SM Entertainment founder believes K-pop needs to expand into China

"K-pop will have its second revival in China,” says Lee Soo-man

SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man has said that he believes the K-pop industry needs to expand into the Chinese market in order to continue growing.

The K-pop exec made the remarks during an appearance on the South Korean television program Monthly Connect on Monday (February 1), according to News Tomato, as translated by Allkpop. He noted that K-pop can “become number one in the world” after it achieves a “second revival in China”.

For context, K-pop’s influence in China has been muted in recent years due to a ban on South Korean culture in the East Asian nation from a political dispute. Although the ban has started to slowly lift, the genre’s impact in China has not returned to pre-ban heights.


Lee believes that once the ban is fully lifted, the entry of talents from South Korea could lead to the creation of Asia’s very own Hollywood. “China must open their doors to Korea once again. All of the talented Korean producers, including JYP Entertainment’s J.Y. Park and Big Hit Entertainment’s Bang Si Hyuk, should enter the Chinese market to create Asia’s Hollywood,” he said.

Aside from China, Lee also noted that K-pop’s standing in the global music industry has improved over the past couple of years, in part due to more collaborations with Western artists.

In other news, cultural critics in South Korea have called for broader cultural understanding within the K-pop industry following several recent controversies involving K-pop idols and their perceived lack of racial and historical awareness.