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From vehicles to ‘ARMY bombs’: Chip crunch creeps into Ok-pop world

As high Ok-pop bands prepare to return on stage or dwell stream new reveals after being sidelined by the pandemic, their followers uncover the worldwide chip disaster has additionally caught up with the world of catchy tunes, glitzy outfits and elaborate dance routines.
Mild sticks, essential accent for hard-core fans of South Korean pop, have change into pricier and tougher to get because of the scarcity that has hit manufacturing of something from smartphones to vehicles.
The glowing wands followers wave throughout live shows and digital occasions are fitted with so-called microcontrollers for energy administration and to pair with a cellphone to alter colours, and spotlight how far the squeeze has rippled by varied industries and points of on a regular basis life.

The worth of sunshine sticks, utilized by “ARMY” or followers of mega-band BTS and known as “ARMY bombs”, has elevated by $2 to $59 from Oct. 1, Hybe entertainment-owned Weverse Store mentioned, blaming the “persistent international semiconductor scarcity”.
A fan of Ok-pop idol boy band BTS watches a dwell streaming on-line live performance, sporting a protecting masks to keep away from the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), at a restaurant in Seoul, South Korea (REUTERS/Heo Ran/File Photograph)
“I certain hope costs received’t get too excessive since a number of ARMY and different followers too can not afford such costs,” mentioned Pervushina Elizaveta, an leisure firm worker and a BTS fan from Estepona, Spain. Followers of South Korean boy band SEVENTEEN should cough up $3 extra for his or her mild sticks, whereas supporters of acts reminiscent of EXO, SHINee, Ladies’ Era and YG Leisure’s BlackPink are solely out of luck. SM Leisure’s international store mentioned EXO, SHINee and Ladies’ Era’s fanlights had been bought out, whereas these of BlackPink had been out of inventory on the band’s official web site.

Hybe, SM Leisure and different high Korean leisure corporations didn’t reply to requests for remark. Whereas the Grammy-nominated BTS plans to carry out dwell in Los Angeles in November and December for the primary time because the pandemic, different South Korean acts are scheduling on-line reveals. Nonetheless, followers are trying ahead to profit from these, with mild sticks on and sharing messages in chatrooms. “It’s a enjoyable technique to really feel related to different followers all all over the world so whenever you do get to take pleasure in a live performance even from dwelling you’ll be able to someway really feel a part of one thing superb!” mentioned Starla Stafford, a fan from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
LONG WAIT
Compounding the ache, semiconductors in mild sticks are manufactured utilizing older applied sciences and such low-end chips face the largest scarcity proper now, mentioned Jim Helpful, an analyst with semiconductor market analysis agency Goal Evaluation. Wait instances for semiconductor deliveries have now stretched to as much as six months, in contrast with the same old about two months, producers mentioned. “I bulk ordered microcontroller chips prematurely, hoping dwell occasions might be again subsequent yr, as a result of the supply time is lengthy,” mentioned Ashton Jungmin Choi, a co-founder of FANLIGHT, a Seoul-based firm that makes mild sticks for bands reminiscent of BTS, EXO and SuperM.

He mentioned delivery expenses have gone up 3 times, and chips value 30% extra in contrast with a yr in the past. “It is rather tough to get any mild stick. They’re at all times in demand and it has been unimaginable to get the BTS Military Bombs,” mentioned Mette Kidal, proprietor of All In Kpop, a Denmark-based Ok-pop merchandise retailer that opened a brand new retailer within the nation this month to cater to surging demand. Fanlights of TWICE bought out sooner than common, Kidal mentioned, after the lady group teased an upcoming tour within the last scenes of their newly launched all-English single “The feels”.

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