Wang Zijie, a former Internet video game producer, has become the force behind SNH48, a 119-member girl group that sells out concerts and is featured in ads for PepsiCo, Lay’s potato chips and Sony, according to a Bloomberg report.
Formed three years ago, SNH48 relies on a regimen of intense training in singing, dancing and show-hosting that requires much rehearsal and exercise.
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“To make their dreams come true, they need sweat and perseverance,” Wang said in the Bloomberg article. “Most Chinese girls, because the economy is developed and the quality of life is high, lack discipline.”
The band is bankrolled by a variety of venture capitalist firms including former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee’s Innovation Works. Wang claims the group is valued at several hundred million dollars.
“After joining the band, I realized how hard I had to work during training,” said Wu Yanwen, a 20-year-old band member from Henan province. “I learned that behind every glittery, glamorous profession, there’s a lot of sweat and tears.”
Wang said he will start similar girl bands in 10 Chinese cities by 2018, according to Bloomberg, which also stated that he claims to have inked deals for two movies and three television shows featuring SNH48.
“Fans are keen on processes and being a participant,” Wang said. “Our company’s business model allows them not just to be in the audience, but also participate through online activities.”