Youngsters turn to training in a bid for stardom
Wu Qingli, a 19-year-old from Hong Kong, began dancing when she was very young and was once a part-time model while learning photography in junior college. Because she was fond of idol-type training programs in South Korea, the idea of being part of one began to cropped up two years ago.
Wu now hopes to achieve her dream through a low-threshold path open to ordinary people like herself. She found the Management of New Arts (MNA), an entertainment brokerage company, through its microblog and made a decision to come to Beijing in May after learning more about the company. At first, her parents showed no support, but Wu was clear and firm on her decision. “The circle in Hong Kong was too small, with limited opportunities, so I had to come to Beijing,” she said.
Despite the huge amount of such brokerage companies in Beijing, MNA is among the few that have their own fixed sites and present public performances every season. With a wave of variety shows sweeping China, the so-called trainee system, a model of creating stars that originated in Japan and South Korea, is booming in China. The system is meant to mould new stars from a selection of ordinary people through several months or even years of train- ing. In Japan and South Korea, where it is already mature, the idol industry is of high economic value. According to Iincn.com, the output value of the industry in South Korea was more than 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) in 2016. It is predicted that by 2020, China’s idol industry will be worth 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion).
According to Wu, the life of a trainee in Beijing is not as difficult as in South Korea and at least the competition is less fierce. Wu takes an average of four classes a day from Monday to Friday, with every class lasting two hours. The company will continuously rearrange classes according to everyone’s monthly performance
Trainees from the Management of New Arts dance at a public performance on August 20 in Beijing