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(2nd LD) Hybe recorded biggest-ever sales last year on expansion of global K-pop fandom

All News 18:14 February 21, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with details of conference call in paras 5, 7-13)

SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- Hybe, the K-pop company behind global superstar BTS, achieved its biggest sales ever last year, boosted by the expansion of the global fandom for its artists and successful debuts of rookie groups.

The company said in a regulatory filing that it posted 1.77 trillion won (US$1.37 billion) in sales last year, up 41.6 percent from the previous year. Its operating profit rose 24.9 percent to 237.7 billion won.

"The global fandom of the company-managed artists such as BTS, Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen has expanded, and new artists such as Le Sserafim, NewJeans and &Team have grown rapidly," the company said.

It also attributed the growth in sales to the diversification of products such as its artists-related merchandise and games.

By sector, sales from live performances surged 470.1 percent year-on-year to 258.2 billion won last year, boosted by the government's lifting of social distancing rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

But the company's operating profit for the fourth quarter of the year dwindled 30 percent to 51.7 billion won. Sales and net loss in the period were 535.3 billion won and 188.7 billion won, respectively.

This file photo shows an exterior view of the main building of Hybe, the South Korean entertainment giant behind K-pop supergroup BTS, in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows an exterior view of the main building of Hybe, the South Korean entertainment giant behind K-pop supergroup BTS, in Seoul. (Yonhap)

In a conference call that followed the regulatory filing, Hybe said its multi-label system allowed it to simultaneously process multiple projects by its artists.

The company's biggest K-pop group, BTS, will keep focusing on individual projects by its members this year.

Jimin will drop his solo debut album in March to become the fourth BTS member to go solo as earlier announced, while Suga will kick off the first individual world tour as a BTS member the following month, according to the company. Other members will also engage in individual activities soon, it added.

BTS wrapped up the first chapter of its nine-year career last year, as its seven members unveiled plans to fulfill their mandatory military service in the coming years. Jin, its oldest member, began his active duty in December.

"The company has set and is carrying out detailed plans for activities by BTS members until they complete their military duty and return as a whole group. We'll continue to support BTS to the best of our ability, so they can keep making history in the global music industry," Park Ji-won, CEO of the company, said.

Even though it halted group activities, BTS generated more than half of the company's sales, with the remaining artists representing about 40 percent, according to Hybe CFO Lee Kyung-jun.

Hybe plans to more than double the size of live performances by three other major boy groups, Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen, this year.


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