Upon arriving in Paris for two concerts of a "SM Town Live World Tour" scheduled for Friday and Saturday, K-pop groups TVXQ, Girls' Generation
, Shinee and f(x) expressed surprise over their feverish welcome by French fans.
"It was totally a surprise. I can hardly believe it", one singer said.
, who accompanied the singers to Paris, told a meeting with Korean correspondents in Paris Thursday, "The Korean Wave overseas started from the music, dance and beautiful looks of idol groups and is developing into an enthusiastic Korean style of fan culture", adding, "We sensed the popularity of the Korean Wave from last year and predicted potential sales here, but we never expected it would be so feverish".
The first concert was webcast live via YouTube Friday.
Kim added, "When considering music markets in Europe, Germany is the leader but we chose France as the site for our first concert because France is the base of European culture, holds symbolism, and is aspired to by Europeans".
"Rather than focusing on economic viability, we will first seek to add fuel to the K-pop boom and thus generate a full-blown fever".
Shinee will hold a live concert Sunday at Abbey Road Studio in London, a venue dubbed "Dream Studio" and the symbol of EMI Music.
French media are also paying keen attention to K-pop culture. The daily Le Monde said, "K-pop that swept Asia has started its offensive in the European market. Some 14,000 fans will enjoy and appreciate music by Korean idol groups, who were created by an entertainment management agency".
"K-pop fever has spread to Europe through social networks despite lack of advertising, and such trends have accelerated after information started to be provided in English".
The daily Le Figaro said, "After sweeping Asia, Korea's famous K-pop warriors, who enjoy immense popularity among French youngsters, have started to advance to Europe", adding, "Paris is the beachhead for the foray of a younger generation of Korean singers into the market".