How will China's strict new entertainment rules affect K-pop idols? Fans of BTS and Blackpink can say goodbye to bulk-buying albums, paid votes on TV shows and gender-bending fashion …

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued a notice on August 27 saying it will implement 10 measures to improve fan culture, including the scrapping of ranking entertainers and halting paid voting systems on entertainment TV shows.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Holland is known as one of K-pop’s openly gay idols who challenges ideas of beauty. Photo: @holland_vvv/Instagram

The Chinese government’s attempts to regulate its entertainment sector will affect the K-pop industry, because China is the top source of revenue for Korea’s leading entertainment agencies.

Right after the notice was announced, Tencent’s music streaming service, QQ Music, restricted customers from purchasing more than one copy of an album online.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Shinee’s Taemin has been experimenting with his style as a solo artist over the years. Photo: @smtown/Instagram

Total exports of K-pop albums in July this year surged 3.6 times year-on-year to US$26 million (30.7 billion won). Sales coming from China reached US$8.25 million, which was the biggest amount ever. But the Chinese regulation is expected to affect this trend, while local securities firms say they will have to see the actual impact of the regulations during the third quarter of this year before estimating monetary losses.

“Because album sales are based on individual purchase, it is difficult to accurately predict the impact of the restrictions until we confirm the decline in sales in the third quarter,” said Park Da-gyeom, a researcher at Hi Investment & Securities.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

NCT launched their album, NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 2, at the end of 2020. Photo: SM Entertainment

China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) also issued the “Directive on Increasing Oversight of Entertainment Programmes and their Personnel” on September 2, banning effeminate boy bands from starring in idol talent shows broadcast on TV networks and internet platforms.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Vixx’s track Shangri-La in 2017 was widely popular for its use of traditional Korean hanbok. Photo: @leedonade/Twitter

Chinese authorities said these regulations aim to eliminate immoral entertainers who commit illegal activities, and television stations will cast actors and singers based on their political sophistication, moral conduct and social assessment.

A day after SARFT’s announcement, the stock prices of Korea’s three representative K-pop firms all declined.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Stray Kids member Hyunjin. Photo: JYP Entertainment

YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment witnessed their stock prices decrease by 2.54 per cent, 1.94 per cent and 1.57 per cent, respectively. Keyeast, a management agency specialising in actors, also saw its stock price drop by four per cent on the same day.

But officials at domestic talent agencies are saying the impact of the restrictive measures from China on their financial soundness will be limited, as the level of reliance in terms of generating money from the sale of music albums isn’t that high compared to previous years.

entertainment TV shows, purchasing more than one copy, effeminate boy bands, commit illegal activities, non-fungible tokens, Korea Times, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Ateez member Hongjoong rocked a mullet in the track Say My Name. Photo: @ATEEZofficial/Twitter

JYP Entertainment has been investing in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens to strengthen its music business. SM Entertainment is planning to sell off a 19.42 per cent stake, possibly to CJ Group or Kakao Entertainment.

This article originally appeared on Korea Times

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