Visit to the World’s First Influencer Expo, SeoulCon

January 5, 2024 | 1130 Visits


KCrush visited the special influencer expo organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government

‘The 2023 SeoulCon’ is the world’s first global influencer expo organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Economic Promotion Agency. Unlike traditional expos that focus on products or services, this unique event targets influencers (people) as its main subject. It is also part of the Seoul Winter Festa, a major winter festival in Seoul. The Seoul Economic Promotion Agency (SBA) announced on January 3rd that approximately 100,000 people participated in the ‘2023 SEOULCon,’ the world’s first and largest influencer expo, held at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) from December 30th last year to January 1st.



At SeoulCon, influencers from over 50 countries with a total of 3 billion subscribers were invited. Notable domestic and international influencers like Kristel Fulgar and Anushka Sen also attended. Among them, Jang Elina, Kika Kim, Kristel Fulgar, Anushka Sen, Cam, and Cassandra Bangson, six global influencers, were included in the 22 people who participated in the New Year’s bell-ringing event, which was broadcast live worldwide and became a topic of discussion.



The event showcased Seoul’s lifestyle in content, beauty, fashion, and more, leveraging the expertise of the Seoul Promotion Plan (SPP) and the experience in supporting the overseas expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises in Seoul.

‘2023 SEOULCon’ featured 28 diverse programs across four categories: festivals, conferences, content, fashion, beauty, performance, and entertainment. This included the APAN Star Awards, SeoulCon X World K-Pop Festival & Countdown, and 2023 T1Con, all held successfully with great participation.


AI App Experiences K-Pop Dance

Sidewalk Entertainment, a real-time motion recognition AI startup, set up STEPIN, a K-Pop dance AI platform, featuring K-Pop Random Play Dance Battle, STEPIN Score Challenge, and a STEPIN Experience Zone.



On the stage set up at the venue, the K-Pop Random Play Dance Battle was conducted in pairs in real-time, selecting the final winner, and the STEPIN Score Challenge alternated, challenging participants to score over 70 points using STEPIN’s AI scoring feature. There was also a zone where attendees could freely use STEPIN.



The K-Pop Random Play Dance Battle, in particular, drew attention. The battle, conducted in a tournament format, featured participants with outstanding dance skills, heating up the atmosphere inside the venue.



Kukgi Bong, the CEO of Sidewalk Entertainment and a former professional gamer, said, “The K-Pop Random Play Dance Battle feature, which debuted today, will soon be available through the app.”


‘SeoulCon Media Trailer’

The cast of Netflix’s survival entertainment program ‘Physical 100’ and global influencers competed in a ‘Squid Game’ challenge. ‘Physical 100’ winner Woo Jin-yong, along with Kim Kyung-baek, Jo Jin-hyung, and ‘Australian Tarzan,’ were among the four ‘Physical 100 Crew’ members who participated. Contestants from Netflix’s dating show ‘Solo Hell’ conducted love counseling and talk shows.

Moreover, about 50 domestic and international influencers who participated in the 2023 SeoulCon were also present.


‘2023 Creative Force Awards’

Oh Se-hoon, the Mayor of Seoul, gave a welcoming speech at the 2023 SeoulCon Creative Force Awards. He presented the Mayor of Seoul Award to five outstanding beauty creative force teams and six teams for this year’s creative force.



In his speech at the award ceremony, Mayor Oh Se-hoon said, “We have entered an era where the creative industry and creative convergence industry determine the future of the country. Fortunately, thanks to K-Content, the world has begun to pay attention to Seoul, South Korea. It is a pleasure and gratitude to see how your efforts are doubling the speed and effectiveness of this attention.”



The Creative Force is a project conducted by the Seoul Business Agency (SBA) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government to foster individual media creators who will promote Seoul’s outstanding resources in tourism and small businesses. Participants were provided with various support programs, including a dedicated single-person media studio and partners’ space, a corporate matching and branded content production program, and mentoring and networking with professionals in the industry and single-media experts.

Since its launch in 2017, Creative Force, now in its eighth year, has produced 1,006 active creators, generated over 90 billion video views, and supported 5,235 campaigns for a subscriber base of approximately 136.79 million.



Mayor Oh Se-hoon personally presented the awards to six outstanding beauty creative force teams and five teams in this year’s Creative Force category. The Outstanding Beauty Creative Force is an award for teams that have promoted Seoul’s beautiful spots, excellent beauty companies, and brands through beauty content this year. NASU, Rachel Kim, Restoration King, IMDAY, and Jiwon were honored with awards.
This year’s Creative Forces included six teams. The channel ‘Jin and Hattie’ with the steepest subscriber growth won the Growth Award, while ‘On Oppa,’ the most subscribed channel.



Continuing, the award for Passion went to ‘Nukkimchaek,’ which was selected the most for the highest number of branded content production projects. ‘DicoDCO,’ which had the highest usage of studio and equipment rental, received the Activity Award. The Proactive Award was given to ‘Coyoupu TV’ for participating in the most diverse range of SBA single-person media support projects.


K-Pop Random Play Dance

Right in front of the exit, a dance battle took place, drawing a large crowd of spectators, creating a bustling atmosphere.

At the Oullim Square, when the song ‘Standing Next to You’ by Jungkook of BTS started playing, about 50 influencers from around the world began dancing in unison to the same choreography. During the dance break sections, following the beat, the influencers’ flashy moves prompted hundreds of citizens and foreign tourists to quickly take out their smartphones to record and cheer loudly. Every 30 seconds, music from leading K-pop groups like BLACKPINK, NewJeans, aespa, and Seventeen flowed, and the influencers smoothly performed the choreography. In the special K-pop Random Play Dance segment for artists, 49 members from 8 rookie idol groups, including AMPERS&ONE, 82MAJOR, YoungPaci, Rocking Doll Roa, E’LAST, Eastshine, Busters, and Beauty Box, participated.


‘Original Seoul’

‘Original Seoul,’ showcasing Seoul’s street fashion, featured 22 fashion brands including Levi’s and Musinsa, each setting up booths to display the essence of Seoul’s street fashion.



Original Seoul, held at the DDP Design Lab 1st floor D Forest, was themed ‘Fashion-based Original Brands Coming Together to Voice the True Original.’ It showcased the unique perspectives of each brand on Original Seoul, presenting sustainable Seoul fashion and culture.



Although not as crowded as other events, it was mainly influencers who were observed exploring the exhibition.



Shinsegae’s select shop CaseStudy decorated a unique exhibition space using a variety of collaborative products they recently worked on. Popular fashion brands among the younger generation, such as 2000Archives and THUG CLUB, also participated. Particularly, THUG CLUB has been recognized as an emerging street fashion brand by global fashion magazines.

Saytouche is a brand that showcases clothing based on artistic works. At this Original Seoul event, they provided a unique experience by displaying their products as art pieces. The fashion brand Sunwoo exhibited concept clothing, while Danha presented modern reinterpretations of traditional Korean hanbok clothing and accessories. Danha has recently gained international attention after featuring in a BLACKPINK music video. The select shop Aglet displayed clothing collaborated with contemporary British artist Damien Hirst. The global electric bicycle brand MATE also participated, exhibiting electric bicycles created in collaboration with fashion brands like Moncler. The outdoor brand Helinox showcased camping gear and clothing in collaboration with IAB Studio. The F&B culture brand CNP participated with brands like NICE WEATHER, OLD FERRY DONUT, and PACINO ESPRESSO.


Costume Play


SeoulCon extended beyond just an influencer expo, integrating various events of Seoul city. The highlight of SeoulCon, the SeoulCon x World K-Pop Festival & Countdown, held at the DDP, welcomed the new year with a countdown attended by global influencers, citizens, and K-pop fans from various countries, totaling over 4,000 participants. Performers like Jay Park, Apink, Ash Island, Hi Cutie, Lee Gikwang, N-Sign, Secret Number, and Chungha joined to celebrate the new year, alongside a K-pop and EDM concert surrounding the Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony. The concert featured traditional Korean music group S.O.S, mask dance and Bukcheong Lion Dance, Nongak (farmer’s music) troupe, Ambiguous Dance Company, Zerobaseone, Enhypen, The Boyz, and Oh My Girl, showcasing the charm of Korean culture and K-pop’s global status. A light show centered around a 12-meter structure symbolizing the midnight sun was displayed at Gwanghwamun Square.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Economic Promotion Agency plan to establish Seoul as the hub city for global individual media industry trends and business through this event.


—- Samual Kim


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