K-pop SM Entertainment Reportedly Exported Idol Training System To Saudi Arabia

South Korean music label SM Entertainment will expand into the Middle East, as part of a new partnership with Saudi Arabia.

SM Entertainment, home to top K-pop groups such as Girls’ Generation, Red Velvet, NCT, aespa and more, plans to export its idol production system to Saudi Arabia, according to The Korean Business Daily.

SM Entertainment founder and chief producer Lee Soo-man reportedly visited Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, last month at the invitation of the Saudi government, according to South Korean entertainment industry sources. Koreans who spoke with The Korean Business Daily.

The kingdom’s Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, who is also deputy tourism minister, reportedly spoke to Lee about her desire to learn more about SM Entertainment’s systems and procedures for nurturing artists. This would be part of the Middle Eastern nation’s plans to develop the country’s entertainment industry.

Additionally, Lee has reportedly served as an advisor for Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya Initiative, an entertainment megaproject in Riyadh, since 2019. The company also aims to expand its K-pop business in the Middle East through the partnership.

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

In other news from SM Entertainment, CJ ENM, one of South Korea’s biggest entertainment and media companies, is reportedly in talks to buy a majority stake in the K-pop agency.

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