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Non-Korean Idols: Amazingly Talented and Popular KPOP Stars who are not actually from South Korea

Updated on November 28, 2015
Xhyniie profile image

Xhyniie has been a Kpop fan since 2010 and a K-drama fan since 2000. She enjoys writing about the Korean entertainment industry.

EXO-M at Nature Republic's press conference
EXO-M at Nature Republic's press conference | Source

You are a KPOP fan but you never know that these idols are not actually Koreans. Let’s explore KPOP world and begin the countdown of amazingly talented and popular KPOP stars who are not actually from South Korea. Well, if you have talents just like them then you can be the next popular Non-Korean idol.

Luhan | Source

13. Lu Han (former EXO-M member)

Nationality: Chinese

Luh Han is Kpop idol who is from China. In 2008, Lu Han had auditioned for JYP Entertainment's Chinese global auditions but failed to get cast.

How did Lu Han become a KPOP Idol?
Lu Han transfers in Seoul to study. In 2010, he was scouted by an SM Entertainment casting agent and recommended him to an audition for the company’s annual SM Casting System. Luhan was successfully auditioned and joined EXO in 2011.

Kris | Source

12. Kris (former EXO-M member)

Nationality: Chinese-Canadian
Kris was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He holds a Canadian citizenship.

How did Kris become a KPOP Idol?At the age of 16, Kris auditioned for S.M. Entertainment's Canadian S.M. Global Auditions, which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 14, 2007. At that time of casting, Kris was attending Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. He moved to South Korean after passing the audition and become a trainee.

Bambam | Source

11. Bamban (Got7)

Nationality: Thai
Bambam is a KPOP Idol who is from Thailand.

How did Bambam become a KPOP Idol?
Before Bambam debut as a member of Got7, he was trained for about three and half years under the talent company JYP Entertainment. As part of his pre-debut appearance, Bambam appeared on an episode of Mnet's reality-survival program WIN: Who Is Next, which aired on September 6, 2013. Bambam alongside Mark, Jackson and Yugyeom were competing against the YG Entertainment trainees: Team A and Team B (that are now known as WINNER (Team A) and iKON (Team B).

Amber Liu
Amber Liu | Source

10. Amber Liu f(x)

Nationality: American
Amber’s parents are from Taiwan and her father has a Teochew ancestry.

How did Amber become a KPOP Idol?
In 2008, Amber was discovered from SM Entertainment’s Los Angeles global audition. Amber and one male participant were selected to become trainees for the said company. In 2010, Amber debuted under the girl group f(x) after a year and a half of training.

Jia | Source

9. Jia (Miss A)

Nationality: Chinese

Jia was born and raised in China. She is the only child in her family.

How did Jia become a KPOP Idol?
In 2007, JYP Entertainment held an audition on Jia’s school in Beijing. Jia accidentally stumbled into the audition room where she performed a dance and a rap sequence. She was then selected to be on a girl group.

Fei | Source

8. Fei (Miss A)

Nationality: Chinese

Fei was born and raised in China. Before her journey to KPOP world, she appeared on the Zhejiang TV audition program "The More She Dances the Prettier She Is".

How did Fei become a KPOP Idol?
Before she becomes a popular KPOP Idol, Fei was a former member of ‘Sisters’, a project group and the Chinese version of Wonder Girls. Sisters got cancelled due to member and trainee changes within their company which resulted into Fei becoming a member of Miss A.

Lay | Source

7. Lay (EXO-M)

Nationality: Chinese

Zhang Yixing also known as Lay in the entertainment industry is from Changsha, Hunan, China.

How did Lay become a KPOP Idol?
In 2008, after a successful audition with SM Entertainment’s global casting system in Changsha Lay officially joined the company. He was 16 years old at the time of auditions and was studying for his college entrance exams. He partly worked with Shinee as Jonghyun’s dance replacement during their concert tour. In 2012, he was formally introduced to the public as a member of EXO.

KCON 2015 Got7 on stage
KCON 2015 Got7 on stage | Source

6. Mark Tuan (Got7)

Nationality: American citizenship with Taiwanese descent.

Mark was born on September 4, 1993 in Los Angeles. His family have lived in Brazil and Paraguay when he was a child.

How did Mark become a KPOP Idol?
He was discovered in the States in 2010 and came to train in Korea that same year.

Tao | Source

5. Tao (former EXO-M member)

Nationality: Chinese
Tao is the lead rapper of EXO-M who is from Qingdao, Shandong, China.

How did Tao become a KPOP Idol?

SM Entertainment held a global casting system in Qingdao wherein Tao participated and auditioned. In late 2010, Tao became an SM trainee. Tao auditioned for S.M. Entertainment's global casting system in Qingdao and became an S.M. trainee in late 2010. Prior to joining EXO, Tao had a training period of less than one year. In 2011, he was formally introduced as the newest member of EXO.

Victoria Song
Victoria Song | Source

4. Victoria Song f(x)

Nationality: Chinese

Victoria Song was born and raised in China. She studied Chinese traditional dance at the Beijing Dance Academy. Right after she graduated from highschool, Victoria was accepted to the Beijing Dance Academy where she majored in Chinese ethnic dance.

How did Victoria become a KPOP Idol?

Victoria joined at a Beijing dance competition in 2007 wherein an SM employee spotted and recruited her. She later joined the company. She passed an audition for SM Entertainment and then prepared for her acting and modelling career in South Korea.

KCON 2015 Got7 on stage
KCON 2015 Got7 on stage | Source

3. Jackson Wang (Got7)

Nationality: Chinese

Jackson Wang was born and raised in Hong Kong. Before he becomes a member of Got7, Jackson was a former national fencer of the Hong Kong fencing team. He was ranked 11th in 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, eventually winning first place at the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championship in 2011.

How did Jackson become a KPOP Idol?
In 2010, JYP Entertainment scouted Jackson among other 2000 contestants. At first, his parents were against of his dream of becoming an idol. Jackson’s father made a deal that he would give him permission go to Korean only if he can be the best fencer in Asia. He came in Korea in 2011 and became a JYP trainee for 2 and half years before his debut in Got7.

Henry Lau
Henry Lau | Source

2. Henry Lau (Super Junior -M)

Nationality: Canadian

Henry Lau was born and raised in Canada to a father who is from Hongkong (has Teochew ancestry) and a mother who is from Pingtung, Taiwan.

How did Henry Lau become a KPOP Idol?
In 2006, SM Entertainment held an audition in Toronto wherein Henry was a participant and discovered by the talent agency. He is known for playing different instruments. According to Henry that he never expected to become an idol and his original planned is to become a professional violinist. He also reveals that he choose SM Entertainment because if he turned to be a classical musician, he wouldn't be able to sing, dance, play the piano, and play the violin all together.

Nichkhun | Source

1. Nichkhun (2PM)

Nationality: Thai

Nickhun was born in Los Angeles, California to a Thai parent. It was later revealed that Nichkhun paternal grandmother is from Bangkok, Thailand while his paternal grandfather is a Thai with Chinese ancestry.

How did Nichkhun become a Kpop idol?
Nichkhun is known to be a sports enthusiast engages himself in badminton and became a coach for their badminton team after high school at Rosemaed High School. A scout manager of JYP Entertainment happens to see him and then scouted him at the Los Angeles Korean Music Festival.
He then passed an audition for JYP Entertainment wherein he first signed a ten-year contract with the company but he later re-signed for an eight-year contract which do not includes training and was brought to South Korea as a trainee in 2006.


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