Korean idol Kim Soo-hyun is coming to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese fans are already gearing up for visit

Korean idol Kim Soo-hyun is coming to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese fans are already gearing up for visit

A visit by popular South Korean actor Kim Soo-hyun to Hong Kong later this year is expected to bring in fans from across mainland China, with the city remaining a cultural middleman amid years-long geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Seoul.

It emerged last week that the star was set to meet fans on August 10 at AsiaWorld-Expo on the Hong Kong leg of his Asian tour, following trips to Thailand, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan in June and July.

A number of posts have already appeared on popular mainland social media platform Xiaohongshu with information on the event, even though ticketing details have yet to be announced officially.

Advice ranged from which local websites to keep an eye on for tickets, including HK Ticketing, Urbtix and Cityline, to detailed maps of the venue for the best seats in the house.

Tips on applying for passes to Hong Kong with local immigration authorities, transport and the amount of cash to bring were also provided.

Others gave recommendations on accommodation, although most suggested same-day visits. Some urged people from further away to book a room in neighbouring Shenzhen, a move considered “more cost efficient” than staying in Hong Kong.

“Heading to Hong Kong should be the most convenient for most of us, so the tickets will be hard to get,” one post said.

“But please do not miss this opportunity. The last time [Kim] did an Asian tour was almost 10 years ago!”

A comment under another post asked: “Would anyone else from Hangzhou like to go as a group?”

One comment asked: “Why isn’t he coming to Shanghai? Why are there no mainland cities at all?” An internet user replied: “It’s because of the restrictions we have on Korean stars.”

Korean star Kim Soo-hyun will be in Hong Kong in August. Photo: X/soohyunupdates

A de facto ban on Korean cultural exports has been in place on the mainland since 2016, following simmering geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Seoul as a result of the latter’s decision to install a US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD) in northern Seongju county.

While Beijing has never officially acknowledged the ban, South Korean acts have since avoided appearing on the mainland, but have still performed in Hong Kong and Macau.

Gary Ng Cheuk-yan, a senior economist with Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, said Hong Kong’s role in this scenario was fitting as a connection between the nation and other countries.

“[Hong Kong’s] geographical proximity and regulatory flexibility give the city the unique advantage,” he said.

“Still, it ultimately depends on how the Hong Kong government can draw a fine line between the economy and politics.”

Last year, Suga from K-pop boy band BTS made headlines for making a rare reference to the measure during a live stream with fans.

When asked whether he would go to mainland China during his solo tour, Suga replied: “How could I tour in China when we can’t perform there?”

The parameters of the ban remain vague, with some pointing to signs of relaxation in recent years, such as Korean films slowly returning to major streaming websites like Tencent Video.

Celebrities also seem to be allowed to enter the mainland for smaller events, such as Kim’s 2019 Shanghai appearance for a skincare brand launch.

However, others insisted Beijing had doubled down on the ban as recently as 2023, when it completely suspended the approval reviews of Korean dramas throughout the first half of the year.

Kim, widely believed to be the highest-paid actor in South Korea, is riding on a recent wave of new popularity thanks to his latest drama Queen of Tears, which aired its last episode on April 28, and was made available to global audiences through streaming platform Netflix.

On the mainland, the drama is available unofficially on video sites such as Bilibili.

The show consistently ranked among Netflix’s weekly global top 10 list during its run.

In its home country, the show’s finale also scored a 24.9 per cent viewership rating, according to Nielsen Korea, surpassing the last episode of Crash Landing on You in 2020.



Read More

Leave a Reply