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Friday, December 1, 2023

K-pop stocks down as antitrust regulator launches probe into unfair practices

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HYBE's headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul [YONHAP]
HYBE’s headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul [YONHAP]

Shares of K-pop powerhouses are falling as Korea’s antitrust agency launches an investigation into their gapjil, or abuse of power, over their subcontractors.

As of 9:49 p.m., HYBE shares fell 1.92 percent to trade at 280,500 won; JYP Entertainment shares fell 1.54 percent to 133,900 won; SM Entertainment shares dropped 1.1 percent to 108,100 won.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation Tuesday into four K-pop agencies — HYBE, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment — to probe whether they treated their subcontractors, who produce artists’ albums and merchandise, unfairly in business transactions.

“The content industry takes the spotlight as one of our core industries in the global economy and soft power, but the reality is that there are many malpractices within the industry,” FTC Chairperson Han Ki-jeong said earlier this year.

“The agency will probe into the relationship between companies and their subcontractors in putting unfair causes in their official contract, improper verbal contracts and late payment.”

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]