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Korea’s SM Entertainment expands to Saudi Arabia

K-pop juggernaut SM Entertainment is expanding into the Middle East after partnering with the Saudi Arabian investment department.

The deal will see SM discover, nurture and produce local S-pop (Saudi pop) artists with the active support of the Saudi Ministry of Investment, with plans to establish a venue “that can hold music festivals year-round”.

SM also plans to build a metaverse platform to “share Korean and Saudi culture” and “actively promote local business… production of various contents, and production and sales of products using IP”.

“I am delighted to have signed a business agreement with the Saudi ministry of investment,” says SM executive producer Lee Soo-man. “I hope that through this agreement, me, SM, and Saudi Arabia can bear good results.

“I will discover local talents, produce S-pop, and build a music ecosystem that young people in Saudi Arabia can enjoy”

“With the CT (Culture Technology) system I built, I will discover talented local talents, produce S-pop, and build a music ecosystem that young people in Saudi Arabia can enjoy. Furthermore, I hope that it will contribute to the development of the future cultural industry in Saudi Arabia.”

K-pop artists on SM’s roster include NCT, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, Shinee, Exo, Red Velvet, SuperM, TVXQ, Aespa and BoA.

Soo-man met with officials from the local Ministry of Culture during a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia back in March, with further discussions taking place at SM’s Seoul headquarters in June.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Lee Soo-man and SM Entertainment, and we will actively cooperate,” adds Saudi deputy minister of investment Fahad Al Naim.

Last month, SM teamed with Los Angeles-based virtual reality concert platform AmazeVR to form joint venture Studio A. The JV will pool AmazeVR’s technology with SM’s extensive artist network.


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