EXO, BTS, and TWICE Making 10 Billion Won — Each — on Merchandise Alone

EXO, BTS, and TWICE Prove Kpop Sales Don't Only Lie in China
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EXO, BTS, and TWICE Prove Kpop Sales Don't Only Lie in China
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Peter Rowlands (CC by 2.0)

With Kpop sales rising not only in South Korea, but around the world, should Korean entertainers worry about China’s hallyu ban?

Starting late last summer, China all-but-offically banned hallyu in the country. While the country has not officially confirmed the ban, people can’t ignore the facts.

In fact, it’s obvious.  Chinese TV stations cancelled Korean dramas.  Autograph signings abruptly cancelled without notice.  The Chinese government pushed concert promoters to cancel announced Kpop gigs lest they face massive fines.

As a result, sales have fallen across the Korean entertainment industry.  Agencies, producers, and others in Korean entertainment companies worry that about the “great negative impact on Korea.”  In fact, The Telegraph called Korean pop stars “unwitting pawns” in the escalating diplomatic spat.

Yet, if the Korean entertainment industry faces worsening profits, these stars have yet to see it.  EXO, BTS, and TWICE are not only stomping through sales charts, they’re also raking in money through merchandise products.

The examples are endless.  And, expensive.  On that note, French jewelry and fashion brand Agatha Paris just launched an EXO-themed suitcase. Despite the high price (350,000 won or $303 US), EXO suitcases almost immediately sold out upon arrival. According to one EXO fan,

“I bought it to use as a treasure box to keep my other merchandise, but the quality of the product was actually very high. The initials on the suitcase were especially nice because it felt like a secret code between fans.”

BTS also released hand cream on February 28. The group will also release a backpack along with a carry-on suitcase as well. A source from the band told Soompi,

“The EXO suitcases last year were very successful, so this time we are preparing a full set containing a suitcase, backpack, and hand cream.”

TWICE also collaborated with LG Electronics to create a Bluetooth speaker aimed at male fans.  To sweeten the deal, fans who pre-ordered the product received a signed CD. Once the product came out, LG Electronics revealed,

“The product was sold out in 50 minutes after we opened up for pre-orders.”

Speaking on the massive domestic value of Kpop groups, a merchandising industry source told Soompi,

“There’s a minimum amount of sales you’re guaranteed to get when you collaborate with idol groups. It depends on the product, but five to ten percent of the whole fandom will usually buy them. EXO, BTS, and TWICE’s fandoms are very powerful, so those idol groups most likely have a value of 10 billion won (approximately $8.7 million).”

Hwang believes that Korean entertainers should use the opportunity to enhance their domestic value.  This allows Korean entertainers to move away from Chinese income dependency.

“There was a bubble in the Chinese market.  Korean stars need to take steps to remove the bubble and increase their competitiveness.

“We don’t see the Southeast Asian markets as being small.  They are not as big as China but have high growth potential.  If we have good content, we can export them at good prices.”

6 Responses

  1. hy

    You are Koreans before you are Kpoppers. When going gets tough, get tougher!
    It is China’s loss in the long run.

    • tiffany

      what loss. Now fans in china still buy products from Korea. However, if ban continues for more than five years, kpop will done in China. At that time, you cannot earn any money from China. I do not see any loss china will have. We have our own artists. Just because China and korea had a good relationship before, we do not have any limitation for Korea artists. However, a lot of people already feel upset and unhappy as our market is full of Korea artists. Therefore, everyone in China supports our government this time to ban Korea artists. You give us an excuse to ban your artists. Hallyu will done in just five years in China.Our our entertainment industry can grow from now on

  2. partyfavorz.com

    What is it with the Kpop articles? Did this annoying form of pop become popular beyond the occasional YouTube video in the US? Just curious because my job is to be on top of the latest trends and this music is nowhere on my radar.

    • Rhonda

      Maybe you should consider a new job or a new radar!!!

    • CobbleStone Road

      It’s a massive wave. It wasn’t limited to Psy and there’s a huge market for it. The “Hallyu Wave” as it is called has taken Korean language and culture and gone international. It has spread to the U.S. with Kpop groups holding concerts and selling albums. There’s a huge following worldwide. The Hallyu Wave is very unique to South Korea and shows no signs of stopping. It’s becoming a global phenomenon. I would recommend checking out articles on it. Here’s a nice article.