Universal Music Greater China (UMGC), a division of Universal Music Group, said Thursday that it has signed Sunnee, a former member of popular Chinese idol group Rocket Girls 101, which disbanded earlier this week.
Sunnee, a Thai singer of Chinese descent whose full Mandarin name is Yang Yunqing, is the first of the former 11-person group to sign with a major music label. She will release her debut solo album later this year, and a single called “By Your Side” on Friday, which she calls “a reflection of my gratitude to [my] fans’ support over the years.”
A consortium led by China’s Tencent Holdings bought 10% of Universal Music Group from France’s Vivendi SA for $3.4 billion last December.
Rocket Girls 101 were formed out of the Tencent Video music reality show “Produce 101” in 2018. Their song “Calorie,” a fat-shaming earworm about how to lose weight in order to become a viral internet star, peaked at number four on the Chinese charts and was used in comedy “Hello Mr. Billionaire,” China’s twelfth highest grossing film of all time. They disbanded at the end of their stipulated two-year contract.
Sunnee, 23, was previously a member of girl group A’N’D under K-L Entertainment. She came in eight on “Produce 101,” earning her a spot in the group. has more than 18 million followers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform, and is a brand ambassador for MaxFactor, Calvin Klein, and Dove, among other international brands.
The announcement was made in a virtual press conference out of Shanghai on Wednesday evening.
In a statement, Sunnee said that she felt “privileged” to be able to collaborate with UMG’s producers and song writers. “What I want to express through music is becoming clearer and clearer,” she said.
UMGC chairman and CEO Sunny Chang called Sunnee a “one-of-a-kind artist, and a true representative for Generation Z,” while the company’s managing director Garand Wu praised the singer’s “uniquely personal style,” saying he hoped to introduce her to new markets outside China through Universal’s global network. “As a Thai-Chinese musician, she’s inspired by both C-Pop and Southeast Asian pop music, adding rich expressiveness to her music.”