DearU Co., a South Korean company that operates a fan communication platform for K-pop artists and their fans, announced on Tuesday that it will launch a Japanese version of its service in February next year. The company, which is a subsidiary of S.M. Entertainment, one of the leading K-pop agencies, has formed a joint venture with m-up Holdings, Japan’s largest fan platform company, to enter the Japanese market.
DearU Co. launched its flagship service, DearU bubble, in January 2020. DearU bubble is a subscription-based mobile application that allows fans to exchange text messages with their favorite K-pop idols. The app also provides various features such as voice messages, stickers, emojis, and photos.
According to the company, DearU bubble has attracted 1.2 million subscribers as of August this year, and has 229 artists from 23 local entertainment firms on its platform. Some of the popular artists include S.M. Entertainment’s aespa and EXO, JYP Entertainment’s Twice and ITZY, and FNC Entertainment’s SF9 and CN Blue.
DearU to expand its global presence with Japan venture
DearU Co. said that it decided to enter the Japanese market because of the high demand and potential for K-pop fan services in the country. Japan is one of the largest and most loyal markets for K-pop, with many fan clubs and events organized by local fans.
The company has partnered with m-up Holdings, which operates Japan’s largest fan platform service, Fanicon. Fanicon has more than 10 million users and 1,500 artists on its platform, including J-pop, anime, and voice actors. The joint venture between DearU and m-up will leverage the expertise and network of both companies to provide a customized and localized service for Japanese K-pop fans.
The new service, called “bubble for Japan”, will be a separate version of the existing DearU bubble app, and will offer exclusive content and features for the Japanese market. The company said that it plans to launch the service in February next year, and will gradually invite more K-pop artists to join the platform.
DearU aims to become a comprehensive entertainment platform
DearU Co. also revealed its future plans to become a comprehensive entertainment platform that connects fans and artists in various ways. The company said that it will use the funds raised from its initial public offering (IPO) on the Kosdaq market next month to develop new services such as a metaverse platform, where fans can interact with their idols in a virtual reality environment.
The company also said that it will secure intellectual property rights for global artists and create new business models based on them. The company hopes to capitalize on the growing popularity and influence of K-pop around the world, and create a “fandustry” that generates value from fandom activities.