Get your K-Pop on at KCON Abu Dhabi on March 25!
The Bangtan Boys, Seoul's answer to One Direction. (Tumblr)
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The first Middle East edition of KCON is set to take Abu Dhabi by storm with a star-studded K-Pop concert and exciting cultural activities at du Arena on March 25.
Renowned artists Bangtan Boys, Taeyeon from Girls' Generation, Kyuhyun from Super Junior, Double S 301, MONSTA X, SPICA, and Ailee will take centre stage for a memorable performance. At the convention, visitors can sample delicious food, take part in a drumming session, discover Asian make-up trends, learn K-Pop choreography in a special dance class, and even watch a stand-up comedy show, among others.
Plus, some of the performing artists will host meet-and-greet sessions and introduce Korean culture in an interactive zone. According to latest reports, the first batch of KCON concert tickets was reportedly sold out in record time since its announcement and the event has been receiving immense public response on social media (#kcon2016abudhabi).
Tapping into the Middle East fanbase
KCON, organised by CJ E&M - one of Seoul's leading content and media companies, combines entertainment (K-Pop concerts) with business (conventions), giving visitors a wholesome Korean experience. Besides the concerts, KCON Abu Dhabi will provide a platform for Korean companies to meet local consumers and buyers, alongside a number of UAE-based companies such as Etihad Airways, according to Sang-Gil Lee, Chief Strategy Officer at CJ E&M.
KCON was first held in California, USA in 2012, as an exclusive event for international K-Pop fans, and later evolved to become one of the largest Korean culture conventions in the world. To date, it has been held in many cities around the world, including Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo. Abu Dhabi is its first host country in the Middle East.
"It is only right that we now explore a new and emerging market for Korean culture - the Middle East, and we see that the UAE has a high potential as the leaders of the two countries have agreed to expand their bilateral ties in areas such as culture, IT and energy," he said.
Reaching out to a global audience
CJ E&M specialises in television programmes, movies, music and live theatre production, where it incorporates universal content that would appeal to a global audience, regardless of their cultural background.
Commenting on the phenomenon that is bridging the cultural gap between South Korea and the Arab world, Sang-Gil Lee, Chief Strategy Officer at CJ E&M, said : "We feel that K-Pop and Korean culture is getting more recognition in the region."
"All these have universal messages like family values, friendship, respect for seniors, etc. One of our best examples for bridging the cultural gap is our film, Miss Granny. It has been made into many different versions - 20 Once Again (Chinese), Sweet 20 (Vietnamese), Suspicious Girl/Ayashi Kanojo (Japanese) - and you never know, we might consider making one into a version tailored to the Arab audience. We work with local partners, trying to incorporate as much local culture and characteristics as possible," he said.