WeVerse, the social media platform owned by K-pop company HYBE, will add 13 artists from SM Entertainment on Sept. 12, the companies announced Tuesday (Sept. 5). That opens the platform to such artists as NCT 127, Red Velvet, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, RIIZE and aespa. The partnership was announced in April.
“With this momentous occasion, we hope SM artists and their dedicated global fans will enjoy an unparalleled and seamless fan experience through various content and services available on Weverse,” said Joon Choi, Weverse president, in a statement. “The addition of SM artists will further accelerate the global expansion of Weverse, which has already exceeded 100 million downloads and recorded 10 million monthly active users.”
HYBE, which owns nearly 9% of SM shares, decided to partner with SM after its failed bid take take control of the company. After HYBE acquired a 15% stake in SM from the company’s founder, Lee Sio-Man, in February, a bidding war erupted between HYBE and South Korean tech company Kakao to take a controlling stake in SM. Kakao emerged the winner and has a 40% stake in SM. HYBE retained an 8.8% stake in SM and sold the remainder to Kakao, according to a March 28 public filing — making HYBE the second-largest single shareholder after Kakao.
SM artists have been using Kwangya Club, a similar social platform launched by SM in 2022. Weverse has become a crucial element of HYBE’s multi-faceted business for e-commerce, promoting its artists and building relationships with fans. HYBE has invested in foreign language translation tools and a new payments system for the platform called Weverse Jelly to purchase digital and physical goods at the Weverse Shop. In addition, HYBE runs an annual live event, Weverse Con Festival.
“We’re preparing to integrate Weverse and Weverse shop to offer seamless experiences for fans to stay on the platform and purchase artists, albums and official merch,” HYBE CEO Park Ji-won said during the company’s Aug. 8 earnings call. “We are striving to enhance customer satisfaction including ongoing discussions with various overseas local delivery companies to improve global shipping service quality.”
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