While most K-pop group priority audience is the South Korea audience, these idol groups ended garnering a larger international fan base than in their homeland.
1. MONSTA X
While MONSTA X is well-loved in the West for their more intense, hardcore, and darker concepts, that is not the case in South Korea. Though they are in fact well-known, the South Korea publics know MONSTA X more for their physiques rather than their music. Member Shownu and former member Wonho are especially know for their abs. The group are known as “exercise-dols” by the Korean public.
Dreamcatcher was seen as a fresh group, different from the girl crush or cute concepts Korean entertainment agencies put out. They were unique because of their rock, nightmare concept. The style earned them a loyal fanbase in Europe and other parts of the West. They are slowly making their name in South Korea, but still are not on the same level as their fame internationally.
While most Korean agencies usually put exclusively all-boy or all-girl idol groups, KARD decided to spice things up in the industry as a co-ed four-member group, with two girls and two boys. The group received major support from the West, with many in love with seeing a mix-gender group. Though relatively well-known in South Korea, their level of popularity and fan love in Korea does not even close to what they receive internationally.
4. Stray Kids
Stray Kids initially gainted interest from the Korean public for being a JYP Entertainment boy group and for being a “self-produced” group. Though their pre-debut track “Hellavator” was loved, the Korean audience seemed to lose interest in the group once they debuted. They have since started to regain some popularity in Korea with their comeback “MIROH”. Still, Stray Kids’ darker concepts and self-produced image has won over more international K-pop fans than South Korean fans.
Though the group debuted with a girl crush concept – a concept that is popular in South Korea now – the group comes from a Chinese company that is not as well-known in Korea. They earned some attention pre-debut as two members, Yiren and Sihyeon, competed on “Produce 48”, but their international success with their debut song “Bon Bon Chocolat” is what caused EVERGLOW to blow up in the first place. However, people have noticed that their popularity in Korea has been rising ever since they released “DUN DUN”.
GOT7 were initially very popular in South Korea, especially when they cameback with “Just Right, a cute song about how a girl is beautiful just how she is. Despite that success, the group’s popularity has since declined as they continue to shift concepts. The group themselves have voiced out that they are insecure about not having a large Korean fanbase, but they have also said they feel that with each comeback the have, they get more Korean fans.
However, as JYP Entertainment promotes them to the West, the group has become popular in the West for their dance tracks and the member’s personalities during their interviews. The group also has lots of international fans thanks to their foreign members, Jackson from Hong Kong, Mark from Canada, and Bambam from Thailand.
ATEEZ gained international fame quickly, and it has a lot to do with how the boys filmed a reality show in the States prior to their debut. The group also promoted themselves as KQ Fellaz on YouTube, leading a lot of international K-pop fans to know and love the group. Though their fanbase is constantly growing, they still have a relatively small Korean audience compared to internationally.