SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and FNC Entertainment plan to team up and turn Incheon’s Songdo district into a K-Pop cultural complex.
According to an exclusive report from Chosun Biz, SM Entertainment will be directly leading the project to turn Incheon’s Songdo district into the largest K-Pop complex in Korea. JYP Entertainment and FNC Entertainment will also participate in the large-scale project. SMTown Planner, a subsidiary company of SM Entertainment, is already in discussions on how to turn Songdo into a K-Pop city with multiple sites and venues that will incorporate K-Pop content throughout the city.
The cost of this project will run into the trillions of KRW. SMTown Planner is considering whether to establish a separate company only for this project in coordination with the other entertainment agencies participating. JYP Entertainment and FNC Entertainment are two of the companies that have agreed to join such a project. An insider shared why companies such as JYP and FNC would join.
Entertainment companies are expected to be the IP (intellectual property) providers for such a city, and they are also large companies with the finances, funds that will be able to participate in such a project. Real estate companies are also expected to participate.
In JYP Entertainment’s case, they have a strong relationship with SM Entertainment, being an investor in SM Entertainment’s Dear U subsidiary which recently started the process to be listed on KOSDAQ. Dear U runs Bubble, a paid messenger service where fans can communicate with celebrities. FNC Entertainment also joined the Bubble service, and sold their subsidiary FNC AdCulture to SM Entertainment in 2018. They have maintained a partnership, with FNC Entertainment’s co-chairman Ahn Seok Joon also being a management advisor to SM Life Design Group.
With K-Pop becoming such a big cultural phenomenon around the world, many entertainment companies are working with local and provincial governments to create K-Pop complexes. SM Entertainment previously announced their plans to create a SMTown complex in Changwon worth ₩101 billion KRW (about $85.1 million USD), however disagreements between the Changwon government and SM Entertainment have delayed the opening of the complex.
HYBE and YG Entertainment have also teamed up with Naver to build a cultural complex in Uijeongbu worth at least ₩70.0 billion KRW (about $59.0 million USD). That complex would include studios that can create performances using special effects and other technology that can be livestreamed.
CJ ENM is also getting on the complex train by establishing their CJ Live City in Gyeonggi Province. They plan to develop performance halls, hotels, theme parks, and commercial facilities, investing ₩1.80 trillion KRW (about $1.52 billion USD). Recently the Goyang district government approved plans for the construction of a 20,000 seat concert hall.
However, the Songdo project is expected to be the largest K-Pop complex created to date, with insiders estimating that the project will easily cost over ₩2.00 trillion KRW (about $1.68 billion USD). SMTown Planner has since confirmed they are discussing the project, while the Incheon Free Zone Authority has also confirmed that the project is under discussion.