CJ E&M: Creating a K-Culture in the U.S. Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The recent success of K-pop music and K-drama television show in Asian countries, increased the confidence of the South Korean conglomerate CJ Group, Jay Lee, when he decided to take Korean cultural content to the West.

The group’s Entertainment and Media (E&M) division’s initiative, KCON, which was featured with many Korean cultural elements that was held in Irvine CA in October 2012. It was a day-long fan convention, which included music, dance, film, and food.

After the event in the spring of 2013, the Group’s Vice Chairman, Miky Lee, analyzed the results with his key executives from the KCON 2012, which would define that whether the company should hold a similar event in this year.

As part of their discussion, each of the executive was expected to consider about the location of the 2013 convention, which target consumer would generate the revenue, which artists to invite, what should be the price of the tickets and how to increase the number of sponsors.

Although the company found the loss of money in KCON 2012, even the turnaround was robust, the company had to decide about whether to repeat the event and if they do so, whether its budget should expand from the 2012’s budget of $1.1 million.

This meeting would also discuss the growth plan in U.S restaurant industry, as CJ has recently opened a chain of mid-market Korean food restaurant, Bibigo, in Los Angeles, and how they could connect KCON to Bibigo.

The executives had to determine that whether the Americans would really embrace Hallyu, the Koran Wave, beyond the once story of success like PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. And if it looks possible, was KCON the right approach to make it happen, or was the event just a loss and failure to the company?

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