South Korea's two largest entertainment companies, whose performers include Big Bang, Girls' Generation and Psy, have become members of the country's main lobby group for big businesses, an official press announcement said Tuesday.
The Federation of Korean Industries said the group's 21-member executive body approved the membership of SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment along with applications made by 52 other companies. The other companies are leaders in the country's service and tech venture sectors.
"The move reflects the decision made by the FKI last November to expand membership to allow the federation to encompass more business areas and better represent diverse corporate bodies," an FKI official said.
He said the move is also in line with the government's policy to build up the country's service sector as a way to create more jobs and bolster the economy.
"We do not really have any clear cut rules on membership requirements, although most companies are in the manufacturing sector and are members of local conglomerates," the source said. The latest move brings FKI's membership to 554.
He said the FKI sent letters asking if companies were interested in joining the group that has become the main lobbying group of family-run conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai Motor Group.
YG Entertainment is a record label that manages musicians such as 2NE1 and Epik High, and is headed by Yang Hyun-suk. SM Entertainment is controlled by Lee Soo-man, with SHINee, TVXQ and Super Junior under its fold.
Singers and vocal groups belonging to the two companies generate millions of hits on YouTube and other social media networks, and have played an instrumental role in the spread of the "Korean Wave."
Besides the two companies, FKI said Hanatour Service Inc., one of the country's largest travel agencies, pastry maker SPC and Starbucks Coffee Korea have joined, along with Samil PricewaterhouseCoopers.
It said technology ventures such as Hana Micron Inc. and Hanmi Semiconductor have also joined.
The federation said it plans to continuously increase membership to reflect the corporate landscape of the country that has undergone sweeping changes in recent years.
Related to the membership expansion, the FKI said local Internet portals such as Naver and Daum have opted not to join, because managers there have stressed the importance of strengthening ties with small and medium enterprises (SMEs). South
Korean SMEs are sometimes at odds over measures taken by their much larger corporate rivals. (Yonhap News)