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Kakao invests in new Seoul arena project

Korean internet company Kakao has signed an agreement with the Seoul Metropolitan Government to invest in a new music arena in the city.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the Seoul Arena will be held in June after the plans have been approved. It is hoped that the arena, which will have a seated capacity of 18,269, will be completed in October 2025.

Kakao said the facility will become South Korea’s first “music-specialised arena venue”. The arena will be located in Chang-dong, in the Dobong district of Seoul.

The venue would be able to accommodate up to 28,000 people for standing performances, while a smaller performance hall would hold 2,000 seats and accommodate up to 7,000 people. The wider complex also includes a movie theatre and commercial facilities.

The arena would host K-pop concerts and it is expected to attract 1.8 million visitors a year.

Kakao has invested in the tentatively named Seoul Arena Co. Ltd, a special purpose corporation that will be responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the venue. Kakao will act as a representative investor and has prepared systems and infrastructure based on technology and content capabilities.

Kim Seong-soo, board chairman at Kakao, said: “Kakao is constantly thinking about what we can do to make a better world together with our society. We will thoroughly prepare various programmes for revitalisation so that we can further spur the global spread of K-content and co-prosperity with the local community.”

Officials behind the project have claimed it will be the largest arena dedicated to K-pop in the country, but work on a similar venue is already underway in Goyang, a satellite city of Seoul.

In October, construction commenced on a 1.8 trillion won (£1.13bn/€1.35bn/$1.48bn) project that claims to introduce South Korea’s first arena complex dedicated to K-pop concerts. The CJ LiveCity Arena will open its doors in 2024 with an indoor seating capacity of 20,000 plus outdoor space for more than 40,000 other music fans to enjoy concerts.

CJ LiveCity, the entity behind the project, has linked up with US entertainment giant AEG in a joint venture to build the arena. CJ LiveCity said the combination of its understanding of the local industry and AEG’s venue management could bring in more than 20 million visitors.

Image: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash