Posted : 2013-08-12 18:34
Updated : 2013-08-12 18:34

SM Entertainment to manage Infinite

Infinite members pose in this promotional photo for the album "Destiny." The group's management agency has been acquired by SM Entertainment, lending much needed roster of K-pop stars for the latter. Infinite is currently in the early stages of a world tour. / Korea Times file

By Kim Ji-soo

In just the past week, SM Entertainment has made several announcements of large-scale importance, in a telling sign that the nation's leading talent agency is looking to retain its dominant position in the local entertainment industry.

On Friday, the agency said that it was merging with Woollim Entertainment, formerly home to K-pop groups such as the seven-member group Infinite, as well as Nell, and Tasty, as it spurts on efforts to strengthen its music label business.

The addition of these singers, in particular Infinite, would be a boost to SM Entertainment who already has a line-up of artists such as Super Junior, TVXQ, SHINee, f(x) and BoA as the demand for K-pop stars is growing worldwide. To meet this rising demand, SM Entertainment is resorting to hologram performances.

The stock prices of SM Entertainment rose 33,300 won, and SM C&C rose to 3530 won when markets opened on Monday. This is good news for SM Entertainment in particular, as its stock prices had dwindled for the most part of this year, dropping from 71,600 won per share last October to 30,000 won this year.

The merger with Woollim follows after two other announcements were made within the same week that suggests that SM Entertainment is aggressively expanding. While its sales last year increased by 82 percent to a record $225 million, and the company posted $38 million in net profit, its share price was halved last year. This means that SM needs to diversify its business, which it is hoping to do with the creation of a "hallyu mecca" an "SM World" of sorts that would be similar in concept to Disney World.

On Thursday, SM Entertainment said that it will build a SMTOWN Museum in downtown Los Angeles. The museum would be located on the corner of 6th and Oxford Avenue of L.A. Koreatown, which is a rising cultural district.

The new building was purchased through SM Entertainment USA. The museum will open as a multiplex entertainment venue after reconstruction.

The plan for the museum follows on yet other news that SM Entertainment has been selected as a priority bidder to operate the Artium, a multicultural complex near COEX in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. The complex that was built in 2009 had been on a loan to PMC Production known for its production of "Nanta." But when the company pulled out recently for business reasons, COEX put the building up for lease for a new operator.

The six floor edifice has a musical theater, an exhibition hall and a shop. SM Entertainment reportedly beat out Innocean, an ad arm of Hyundai Motor, and LG CNS, with its plans to turn Artium into a hallyu mecca that will stretch into Apjeongdong as well. SM Entertainment also reportedly plans on holding various events such as artist-fan meetings and a New Year's countdown.

"Both the museum and the Artium is part of our plans to build a ‘hallyu mecca.' In concept, you can say it is akin to Disney World," said Kim Eun-a, public relations team leader at SM Entertainment.

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