Thanks to the Korean government’s investment in the industry and the worldwide success of groups like BTS, BLACKPINK, and TWICE (to name a few), when most people think of popular Asian music, they think of K-Pop. More and more international fans are discovering K-Pop and making it a part of their life, making the industry grow even larger. However, China has some amazingly talented artists too!
Before we begin, it’s important to note that almost all of China’s groups come from singing competition shows. Because of this, groups are often being formed, disbanded, renamed, as well as several groups having the same members.
You will also notice that many group’s names have the number “9” in them. Nine became a somewhat sacred number as in the past, nine was both the biggest odd number as well as the biggest single digit. This caused it to be called “the number of Heaven” and was used by many emperors. The word for nine, jiŭ (久), has the same pronunciation as the word for “everlasting,” thus it is often used.
Without further ado, these are 9 phenomenal Chinese groups that deserve much more attention:
Note: To give more variety and discovery, Chinese sub-units of K-Pop groups are not included in this list.
TNT, which stands for Teens in Times, was formed by the competition show Typhoon Project. They debuted in November of 2019 under Time Fengjun Entertainment. They have 7 members consisting of Ma Jiaqi, Ding Chengxin, Song Yaxuan, Liu Yaowen, Zhang Zhenyuan, Yan Haoxiang, He Junlin. They both power and cute concepts that make it easy for anyone to love them. Their music videos also have a unique way of telling stories, so they’re very engaging.
R1SE, which stands for Running #1 Sun Energy, was created through the competition show, Produce Camp 2019, and is managed by Wajijiwa Entertainment. They debuted in August of 2019 with 11 members. Their names are Zhou Zhennan, He Luoluo, Yan Xujia, Xia Zhiguang, Yao Chen, Zhai Xiaowen, Zhang Yanqi, Liu Ye, Ren Hao, Zhao Lei, and Zhao Rang. They have a pretty experimental sound and are extremely fun to watch.
SNH48 follows the idea of Japan’s AKB48, in which there are many members and a graduation system. This group is based specifically in Shanghai, but they also have groups based in other cities like BEJ48, GNZ48, SHY48, CKG48, and IDOLS Ft. The group technically has over 200 members, and there is amazing variety between all of them.
4. Mr. Tyger
These 5 boys debuted under Star Master Entertainment in July of 2018. They consist of Linmo, A-Key, Jinfan, Zhanyu, and Jiayi. They haven’t been very active lately, but there are no signs of disbandment yet. Their voices are all so different yet come together amazingly. They have a powerful dance and aesthetic.
ONER, formerly known as BC221, debuted under Qin’s Entertainment in August of 2018. They began with 4 members but currently operate with 3 members: Pinkray, Kwin, and Didi. Their sound is quite similar to some K-Pop songs, but with their own unique take. This makes it a very beginner-friendly group for K-Pop stans to get into.
SING is also known as SING Girls, Super Impassioned Net Generation, and Starry Girls Group. They debuted under KuGou Music in August 2015. They currently consist of 8 members named Qin Yu, Wu Yao, Xu Shiyin, Bian Li, Chen Li, Lin Hui, Jiang Shen, and Lai Meiyun. Three members, Cai Sha, Lin Jinyi, Gong Tianying, left for various reasons. They often include traditional Chinese instruments in their songs, as well as often wearing traditional Chinese clothing in their videos. They find a beautiful balance between modern and traditional that is amazing to see.
7. Nine Percent
Nine Percent is perhaps the most popular group on this list, as many international fans knew about them as well. They debuted in November 2018 under iQiyi after winning the show Idol Producer. They consisted of 9 members: Cai XuKun, Chen LiNong, Fan ChengCheng, Justin, Lin YanJun, Zhu ZhengTing, Wang ZiYi, Xiao Gui, and You ZhangJing. Sadly the group disbanded in October 2019 due to various confusions and problems with management and more. They have amazingly high-quality music videos, and each member is talented in several different aspects, including acting, variety shows, solos, and more.
8. BOY STORY
BOY STORY is an interesting group as they are under both Tencent Music Entertainment and JYP Entertainment China. They officially debuted back in September 2018 and have occasionally worked with GOT7‘s Jackson. They have 6 members named Hanyu, Zihao, Xin Long, Zeyu, Ming Rui, and Shuyang. Their ages range from 17 to 14. Despite their surprisingly young ages, these boys have a lot to offer! They have great energy and are just growing in popularity every day.
This girl group was formed from the top 9 members of the survival show Youth With You 2. They debuted back in May 2020 under iQiyi. The nine members include XIN Liu, Esther Yu, Kiki Xu, Yan Yu, Shaking, Babymonster An, Xiaotang Zhao, Snow Kong, and K Lu. They are already showing outstanding potential, and each member is easily identified by their unique looks. Their songs are insanely easy to love.