Japan-style girl group to debut in Vietnam
HCM City, July 25 (VNA) - Vietnam will get its own mega girl group of 48 members in the J-pop style of the popular AKB48 in Japan. The group is expected to debut before the end of the year in Ho Chi Minh City with the name SGO48. A casting programme will begin at the end of this month, according to the organiser’s Facebook page. SGO48 will be the seventh overseas version of AKB48 to be formed, after Jakarta-based JKT48, Bangkok’s BNK48, Taipei’s TPE48, Manila’s MNL48 and Mumbai-based MUM48. The project was established after Vietnam’s entertainment network Yeah1 Group and SGO48’s representative company signed a joint venture agreement with two Japanese companies in June, in a quest to replicate the business model behind Japan’s mega popular AKB48 girl group, according to asia.nikkei.com. In partnership with AKS Co. and Geo Brain, Yeah1 will develop groups as well as businesses to promote sales of albums, tickets, images and accessories, Nikkei reported. "This is a new model for Vietnam’s entertainment industry," said Yeah1 Group Chairman Nguyen Anh Nhuong Tong. "With the support and experience of [our] Japanese partners, we will bring more Vietnamese entertainers onto the international stage." The venture’s first girl band is expected to debut before the end of the year, Tong told Nikkei. Yeah1 said it planned to expand to other Southeast Asian countries. It will target Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia via a mergers and acquisitions strategy. The company said its girl band joint venture would cooperate with Universal Music Group in commercialising content. Plans are to distribute songs and videos on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Vevo. Also in the works for Yeah1 is UM Channel Vietnam, which will showcase Vietnamese artists to a global audience. AKB48 was founded in 2005 by Yasushi Akimoto, a renowned producer of top Japanese idol groups. He searched Akihabara to find members who are innovative, because the area was famous for being energetic. The "AKB" name comes from Akihabara, which is their home ground. The group debuted in January 2009 and has become popular for its concept of ‘Idols you can meet every day.’ They hold "handshake events" where fans who buy a CD single of the group can get a ticket and get the chance to meet a member and shake her hand for ten seconds./.