K-pop fever finds new host with eBay store

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K-pop fever finds new host with eBay store

YG Store, the first K-pop celebrity outlet on eBay, generated more single-day sales on its launch yesterday than any other store opening in the history of the world’s largest online marketplace, which boasts over 200 million users worldwide.

In conjunction with YG Entertainment, the site created the store in a bid to tap the growing popularity of K-pop. It raised a record $8,000 in sales as of yesterday evening.

No Korean entertainment company has established an official store on eBay before.

While eBay Korea does not run a localized store, it does operate the top two players in the country, G-Market and Auction.

To date, some 10,000 items related to Hallyu stars have already been sold on eBay by individual sellers, but the new store is likely to give this number a boost.

The online retailer said it plans to prop up sales by setting up more stores in collaboration with other K-pop agencies given the segment’s potential, which ranges from smartphone cases to T-shirts.

YG Store was yesterday offering 27 different products including those endorsed by artists Big Bang and 2NE1.

“Several years ago, eBay wasn’t interested in the Korean Wave, but it started to pay attention after sales began growing each year,” said Hong Yun-hui, a spokeswoman for Auction. “It now sees Hallyu as a major growth engine as sales of K-pop CDs alone jumped 30 percent on-year in 2011.”

Separately, boy band Big Bang will soon become the first Korean act to join eBay’s Celebrity store, which features more than 50 Hollywood highfliers including Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Christina Aguilera. The stars auction off their used goods and donate the proceeds to help the needy.

YG Entertainment said its tie-up with eBay is a match made in heaven and a win-win deal for both parties as it allows the agency to expand its distribution channels for merchandise, while the retailer can also reap profits. “The overseas fan base of Korean celebrities is growing fast, and demand for collectibles is keeping pace with this,” said Yoo Hae-min, an official at YG’s new business development strategy team.
By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr ]

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