J-Hope, a member of the seven-piece K-pop group BTS, has donated KRW100 million ($90,000) to help children in Africa, it was reported on Tuesday. The same day HYBE Corporation, the powerhouse agency behind BTS, revealed that its first quarter profits had increased by 11% compared with last year.
J-Hope made his donation through Seoul-based ChildFund Korea, one day ahead of the country’s annual Children’s Day public holiday. The Yonhap news agency reported that since 2018, he has provided the charity with KRW700 million ($630,000) “as a member of Green Noble Club, a group of high-value donors of ChildFund Korea.”
HYBE, which was previously known as Big Hit Entertainment, said that net profits for the three months between January and March, which represent the first quarter of its financial year, rose from KRW14.2 billion last time around to KRW15.8 billion ($17.7 million). Sales revenues increased at a faster pace, rising 29% to KRW178 billion ($159 million).
Merchandize and licensing (which HYBE refers to as ‘artist indirect’ business) doubled its sales to KRW110 billion. But ‘artist direct’ business, meaning album sales and concert performances, was down by 24% at KRW67 billion reflecting the lack of new album releases in the period.
The first quarter figures felt no impact from the proposed $1.05 billion acquisition of Ithaca Holdings, which represents artists including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, as the deal has not yet been completed.
The company said that Ithaca will eventually help it diversify its portfolio of activities and reduce its dependence on the K-pop scene.
In the two years prior to its IPO on the main KOSPI stock exchange in October last year, HYBE acquired smaller Korean companies including Pledis Entertainment. Since flotation, in addition to the headline-grabbing Ithaca deal, HYBE has struck other pacts with Universal Music Group and local internet giant Naver and rival Korean talent management firm YG Entertainment.