South Korea is best known for its smartphones, cars and cosmetics exports, but its most notable cultural export may be its $4.7 billion (Dh17.2 billion) pop music industry, which has successfully extended far beyond the country’s shores to become a global phenomenon.
When K-pop boyband sensation EXO arrived in Dubai mid-January to watch The Dubai Fountain play their smash hit Korean songPower, #WelcomeToDubaiEXO was soon trending on Twitter and screams of excitement from hundreds of young fans were at full force at the sight of the boys.
K-pop — an acronym for South Korean pop music — is a potent tool catching the attention of fans locally, following this year’s arrival of EXO to the launch of the UAE’s very first SMTown Live concert, featuring performances from artists such as Girls’ Generation, BoA, Super Junior, Trax, Red Velvet, EXO, Kangta, Henry, f(x), SHINee TVXQ! NCT U and NCT Dream, all of whom are managed by giant K-pop juggernaut S.M. Entertainment.
Moe Sadiq, a Jordanian Radio DJ at KBS World Radio Arabic and writer based in Seoul, says “K-pop is appealing because it simply is the definition of ‘cool’” and “offers an overall package of good taste entertainment.
“The lively Korean mix of electro, dance, hip-hop, rock and pop is particularly popular for the highly stylised western dance moves, airbrushed good looks, and trend-setting fashion,” he adds.
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