(UPDATE) K-pop artists Shotaro and Sungchan are leaving the megaband NCT to debut in another boy group, their management company announced Wednesday.
"As NCT members, Sungchan and Shotaro have presented wondrous performances. However, they will be closing their chapter with NCT and debuting in a new boy group that will launch in 2023," SM Entertainment, a leading label in the K-pop industry, said in a statement.
"We express our deepest apologies and appreciation for the fans that have been supporting and eagerly waiting for them to debut as part of a new NCT group," SM said.
The pair are the latest members to depart NCT after Lucas Wong left in May.
The two boys were introduced as NCT members in 2020, taking part in the group's "Resonance" album.
With their departure, NCT has been trimmed into a 20-man act, whose members are divided into various sub-units: NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dream, WayV, and NCT DoJaeJung.
NCT, which SM launched in 2016, was supposed to have an "infinite" number of members, meaning members would be continuously added over the years.
But in February, SM Entertainment Co-CEO Chris Lee said NCT's "infinite expansion is scheduled to end" with the debut of a Japan-based team this year.
"NCT's newest group will become the final group to be a part of NCT's infinite expansion so we aim to launch one with a distinctive worldview that is truly representative of a regional identity," SM said, talking about the Japan-based sub-unit in its statement on Sungchan and Shotaro.
"In alignment with this, we will be increasing the number of Japanese members, unveiling new members and sharing their debut journey with the fans," it added.
In a video released Wednesday on SM's YouTube channel, CEO Jang Cheol Hyuk bared additional details on the company's upcoming boy band.
Eunseok and Seunghan of the pre-debut team SM Rookies will also debut in the new group that includes Sungchan and Shotaro, said Jang.
They will be joined by "members of Korean and American nationalities," Jang said.
He added that SM was also planning to launch a new girl group in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Established in 1995, SM Entertainment is home to a number of successful K-pop acts, including BoA, TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet and aespa.
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