Entertainment & lifestyle company CJ ENM has announced that it successfully concluded KCON 2019 LA, attracting one million in the cumulative KCON audience. At the KCON 2019 LA held in the 'LA Convention Center' and 'Staples Center’ for four days from the 15th to the 18th, 103,000 spectators gathered and enjoyed K-culture. It is the largest KCON ever, logging a tenfold increase from 10,000 in the first year of KCON held in Irvine, CA in 2012.
CJ ENM has been hosting the world's largest K-culture convention KCON since 2012, expanding its venues to North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania to spread K-lifestyle worldwide. KCON, marking its 8th anniversary this year, has met a total of 1,069,000 Hallyu fans around the world and spread K-culture with the goal of globalizing the Korean Wave.
KCON USA is one of the main regions as it accounts for 60% of KCON's cumulative audience worldwide. KCON 2019 LA extended its duration from three to four days and expanded experiential programs in popular genres such as K-pop, K-beauty, and K-food to greatly increase opportunities for Hallyu fans to have hands-on experience of the Korean Wave.
CJ ENM joined forces with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, the Korea Foundation for Cooperation between Large and Small Business, Rural Affairs, and KOTRA to select 40 promising Korean SMEs having a hard time making inroads into the global market so that they could hold promotional events and exhibitions in a space entitled ‘K-Collection’ for on-site audiences during KCON 2019 LA. Prior to the event, the selected SMEs held one-on-one export consultations with 60 US buyers including Revolve, a fashion shopping mall in LA, so that they could check the reaction of US buyers to their products and gauge their possibility of entering the US market.
Most notably, 28 beauty-specialized companies participated KCON 2019 LA as part of the company’s efforts to spread K-beauty. On Yoon-sun, CEO of MTMCO that participated in KCON 2019 LA, said, ""Our participation in KCON 2016 LA led to remarkable results including an increase in US exports by more than 30%,"" adding, “One of the outstanding attractions of KCON is that we can meet Gen Z consumers interested in K-beauty and introduce our products to them and check their reactions to them instantly. I am hopeful that the trendy and positive image of K-culture promoted by KCON leads to favorable reaction from potential buyers and consumers to our products as we look forward to seeing positive results through the ripple effect of Korean content this year as well.”
KCON LA is evaluated as a gateway for SMEs aspiring to enter the North American market, with a total of 257 companies participating in the event over the past six years. During daytime, KCON 2019 LA featured 243 programs at the LA Convention Center where visitors could experience various aspects of the Korean culture such as K-pop, K-beauty, and K-food.
Most notably, the latest KCON enhanced the contents of K-beauty and K-food and programs featuring social influencers and K-pop artists captivating younger fans given that 67% of visitors to last year’s event were under the age of 24. At #KCONBEAUTY, fans received makeup tips from social media influencers, including the idol groups Loona and fromis9 while joining dance lessons offered by the girl group Momoland in the dance workshop. In the #KCONFOODIE space, launched this year, visitors were able to experience everything about Korean food, such as tasting Korean food, watching talk shows, and witnessing a famous influencer's mukbang (eating show) right in front of their eyes.
Communication with Hallyu fans further expanded by a panel consisting of Hallyu experts and 245 local influencers in a variety of topics such as ▲Learning Korean, ▲K-pop journalism attended by Billboard K-Pop reporters as panelists, ▲Starting a YouTube channel, ▲Debating changes in fan culture around the world, ▲Analysis of differences between American pop music and K-pop, and ▲K-food cooking.
The evening of the first day of the event featured the <Club KCON> concert including not only K-pop but also hip-hop and dance stages. The evening of the 16th kicked off with <KCON Rookies>, a new addition to KCON, designed to help new artists advance into the global market. At Staples Center on the 17th and 18th, iconic K-pop artists took to the stage of the M Countdown Concert, the highlight of KCON, drawing enthusiastic cheers from the audience with their spectacular performances. This year's KCON 2019 LA concert tickets sold out as soon as sales opened in July, proving the intense interest of fans who have been waiting for KCON for a year.
“We are rewriting the history of KCON every year, starting with 10,000 audiences in 2012 and growing into the world’s largest Hallyu festival with a cumulative audience of over 1 million,” said Shin Hyung-kwan, Music Content Division at CJ ENM, who oversees KCON. “Based on the philosophy of the company’s top management, KCON will continue to strive for win-win growth with SMEs and globalization of K-culture.”
Meanwhile, KCON is inscribed on the list of the 'Global 40 Sustainable Brands' announced by the Association for Supporting the SDGs for the United Nations along with brands such as Instagram, Nike, and Grammy Awards for its achievements such as reducing social inequality through cultural dissemination, spreading fashion, music and beauty without discrimination, and producing sustainable influencers systematically.
Following Japan in May, New York in July and LA in August, KCON plans to maintain the momentum at IMPACT Arena and IMPACT International Exhibition Center in Bangkok, Thailand from September 28th to 29th.