Fantagio Entertainment, which is home to K-Pop artists like Weki Meki and ASTRO – along with Korean actors like Ong Seong Wu and Seo Kang Jun, belongs to the Chinese company JC Group with a Chinese CEO Wei Jie. After experiencing a series of not-so-smooth changes in its structure back in 2018, while sending the fans on a train of fear for the managed artists, Fantagio Entertainment seemed to get back on track under the new leadership of JC Group and Wei Jie.
It turns out, however, Wei Jie is currently under police investigations in China for illegal fundraising and fraud. According to the South China Morning Post, JC Group initiated several “Public-Private Partnership” (PPP) projects to turn the countryside in China into themed villages and raised funds from interested investors. The news media shared that the police crack down on these PPP investments revealed JC Group to be involved in fraudulent activities. Wei Jie has been detained in April 2019 and JC Group is facing possible bankruptcy at the moment.
JC Group, established by businessman Wei Jie in 2008, acted as an agent between local governments eager to raise funds to develop the local economy and affluent Chinese investors searching for high returns… The company sold at least 350 “private funds” to designated investors, raising billions of yuan by promising annual returns as high as 12 per cent.
— South China Morning Post
Over 30 executive officers have also been taken in to be investigated further. With the Chinese law governing illegal fundraising and financial fraud as a serious criminal offense that could be sentenced with a maximum of life in prison, some industry experts see this as a threat to the company’s foundation and are convinced that JC Group will not survive the hit.
The company and its affiliates raised as much as 30 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) from [private] investors by last May… By October they had missed repayment on more than 17 billion yuan… A lot of the money was actually used to pay interest on short-term fixed-income products sold by the companies or to refinance their borrowing… Some was even funneled into real estate by Wei and other senior managers of JC Group, investors said.
— Caixin Global
As the news reached the Korean fans of the many artists managed by Fantagio Entertainment, they are now voicing concerns for the artists’ futures. Most are extremely worried that should JC Group does, in fact, fall apart from this scandal, then Fantagio Entertainment will also get shut down – leaving the artists in absolute chaos and crisis.
In response to the growing fear, Fantagio Entertainment notified the terrified fans that the agency itself will not be affected by the detainment and investigations of its Chinese CEO and executives. The agency claimed that all artists are still being actively managed and well supported, asking the fans to rest assured.
It is true that Wei Jie is being investigated in China at the moment, but nothing has been shared of the result of the investigation. Regardless, Fantagio Entertainment has been operated by a separate professional board of executives. There aren’t any issues on the operation front and the agency’s employees and artists are all still actively working. The agency itself is maintaining a stable financial status and the artists are being supported with constant investments, so there is no need to worry.
— Fantagio Enteratainment