Asia News: Ador Vs. HYBE; Taiwan Scalping Down; Macau’s New Cotai Strip Venue; China’s Spaghetti Incident

Stars Highlight Launch Ceremony Of OPPO R15 In Shenzhen
THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT: Taiwanese singer Hebe Tien performs during a launch ceremony of OPPO R15 on March 31, 2018 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. She’s been canceled in China since being photographed eating spaghetti – considered an act in support of former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in 2019. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)


Uh Oh, Spaghetti? No

Taiwanese pop singer Hebe Tien was slated to perform a set at a local festival in the Chinese city of Tianjin, but was canceled by festival organizers.

She hoped to make a comeback on the mainland after two years of being blackballed due to a photo taken of her eating spaghetti in 2022. Chinese nationalists accused Tien of supporting Taiwanese independence.

Around the time the photo was taken, Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, visited Taiwan, incurring the wrath of the Chinese government. Since “spaghetti” is translated in Chinese as “Italian noodles” and Pelosi is of Italian heritage, Chinese netizens inferred that Tien was somehow supporting Pelosi’s visit.

According to the fansite Dramapanda, apparently Chinese nationalists pressured the organizers of the festival to drop Tien from the roster.


Ador Vs. HYBE

South Korea’s entertainment industry has been roiled by a battle between K-pop giant HYBE, which manages world No. 1 boy band BTS, and its subsidiary label Ador, which manages breakout girl group NewJeans. Ador’s creative director, Min Hee-jin, has openly rebelled against HYBE to the extent that the parent company filed a legal complaint against the producer for breach of trust in business. HYBE’s stock price subsequently tanked.

Originally, Min accused HYBE of appropriating her ideas for another new girl group, Illit, which was being groomed by a different subsidiary. By speaking up publicly, Min apparently offended executives in HYBE who demanded she resign.

Min held a press conference on April 25 where she characterized the management of HYBE as “middle-aged jerks,” according to Yahoo! News.

The press event drew mixed reviews, with younger observers empathizing with Min’s negative experience in a male-controlled environment and older observers saying she acted “inappropriately and unprofessionally” by using foul language.

At one point she reportedly broke down in tears. News items mentioned that her lawyers appeared uncomfortable throughout the press conference.

Min is acknowledged as one of the few managerial-level women in K-pop, whose vision has been the driving force behind the phenomenal rise of NewJeans, which has repeatedly topped global singles charts since they debuted only a year ago.
Their newest video was released in the midst of the HYBE contretemps.


Ticket Scalping Decreases With Regs

Incidents of ticket scalping have decreased since a new set of regulations went into effect in June 2023 to combat the practice.

Taipei Times reports that incidents of ticket scalping have decreased since a new set of regulations went into effect in June 2023 to combat the practice.

A new amendment to an existing Creative Industry Development law raised the fine for scalpers. Anyone who sells tickets to performances at inflated prices can be fined 10 to 50 times the original value of the tickets up to NT$3 million ($92,000) and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.

At a recent meeting of the legislature, Deputy Minister of Culture Sue Wang said that since last year the number of scalping cases that have been reported to the ministry has decreased, as has the difference between “the resale and the original prices of tickets” that were scalped. From June 2, 2023, to April 1, 2024, the ministry received 131 reports of scalping in which false information or computer programs were used to purchase tickets.

Eight of these were investigated, with three passed on to prosecutors. Local governments reported a total of 2,105 cases of scalping during the same period, with 609 being subject to investigation. The total amount of fines imposed for the prosecuted infractions was a bit over NT$2 million.

In order to help ticketing platforms and organizers avoid scalpers, the government subsidizes a real-name ticketing system on an event basis. So far this year, 20 events have availed themselves of the system, including concerts by Japanese pop duo Yoasobi and K-pop singer-songwriter IU.


50K-Cap Venue For Cotai Strip

The Asia Gaming Brief reports that the Macau government has plans to construct an outdoor concert venue with a capacity of 50,000 on the Cotai Strip. The announcement was made on April 23 by Macau’s secretary for social affairs and culture, Elsie Ao Ieong.

The Cotai Strip is the area of Macau where the territory’s integrated resorts are located.
The government hopes to have the venue open for business by the first quarter of 2025, as the venue will likely be of a temporary nature. The impetus for the short lead time was a concert held in January by the K-pop boy band Seventeen at the Taipa Olympic Sports Center located “in close proximity to housing.”

During and following the concert, local authorities received many complaints from nearby residents. As a result, the government promised to study the possibility of organizing concerts in other locations.

Though many casino operators in Macau have built concert venues for their facilities, they are mostly indoors. The two largest of these are the Cotai Arena, which is part of the Venetian and can hold 15,000 persons, and the Galaxy Arena, which is located in the Galaxy resort complex and seats 16,000.

In addition, Macau has many smaller theaters. However, there is no outdoor concert venue suitable for large-scale pop concerts, so the immediate solution is to build one farther from residences on a temporary basis. The government is currently evaluating other, presumably more permanent options.


Artists Fight Child Labor

Two of Thailand’s biggest rock stars joined its campaign to fight child labor by releasing a cover version of the campaign song, “Til Everyone Can See.” according to the International Labor Organization.

The song is being released to commemorate World Day Against Child Labor, which falls on June 12. It was written by Mike Einziger, guitarist for the U.S. band Incubus, and violinist Ann Marie Simpson last year for the campaign and has been performed by stars such as Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer, Dom Lewis and Travis Barker.

The two Thai stars who will be adding a Thai language version of the song this year are Toon & Bodyslam and Foet of Slot Machine. Maurizio Bussi, the officer-in-charge of the ILO office for Thailand, hailed the commitment of the two artists. “Music is a great way to spread the message,” he said in a statement. “If we are going to stimulate change and eliminate child labor, we need as many people from all walks of life as possible to support us.”

The lyrics for the Thai version of the song were written by Po Posayanukool, one of the country’s best-known songwriters and producers. The song itself will be produced by Poonsak Jaturaboon, the guitarist from the metalcore band Big Ass.

According to the ILO, Asia and the Pacific has the largest number of child laborers of any region in the world, about 78 million, which accounts for 9.3 percent of all the children in the region.