Top K-pop company SM Entertainment setting up Southeast Asia HQ in Singapore: report

SM Entertainment, which groomed K-pop group Girls Generation (right), is setting up its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
SM Entertainment, which groomed K-pop group Girls Generation (right), is setting up its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — South Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment - which has groomed top K-pop stars such as Super Junior, Girls' Generation and BoA - will be setting up its Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore as part of its expansion plans in the region.

CNBC reported on Wednesday (30 November) that the company confirmed in an email that it is recruiting staff for its Singapore headquarters.

SM Entertainment declined to say how much the company is investing in its expansion in Singapore, but did reveal that it is hiring more local talents, as well as undergraduates or fresh graduates for internships.

It also plans to launch a retail business in Singapore, which would include cafes, merchandise stores and pop-up exhibitions.

According to CNBC, the Singapore office will also manage joint ventures in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as communicate with the South Korea office for related ventures and plans.

SM Entertainment told CNBC that its expansion plans plans did not involve just Southeast Asia, but also the larger Asia continent as well as the Middle East.

Created by producer Lee Soo-man and rebranded in 1995, SM Entertainment is widely credited with having led the wave of K-pop across the globe, with the first generation bands like H.O.T. and S.E.S.

SM Entertainment notably said in September that it would end a deal with Lee's production company by the end of 2022, a year earlier than the original date.

Lee had revealed plans on CNBC interview

In his interview on "The CNBC Conversation", which aired last month, Lee had shared how the entertainment giant recruits and produces talent through the “Culture Technology” system he developed.

According to Lee, the system sees potential singers and dancers going through four stages to becoming a K-pop star — casting, training, marketing/management and producing.

In the interview, Lee also said that if the opportunity arose, he would be keen on creating a K-pop group, NCT Singapore. However, there was no indication as to whether such plans were underway.

Lee also told CNBC that SuperM, the supergroup involving members from four of SM Entertainment's boybands, will be making a comeback announcement early next year.

At the time, Lee also shared that there were plans to create new sub-units, such as NCT Saudi and NCT Tokyo.

Earlier in the week, Amazon announced that production was underway for a feature documentary on Lee and his involvement in the K-pop industry.

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