NCT (Korean: 엔시티) is a South Korean boy group formed by SM Entertainment. Their name stands for the Hallyu localization project Neo Culture Technology, a term coined by their producer and SM founder Lee Soo-man to describe the group's concept of having an unlimited number of members divided into multiple sub-units based in various cities worldwide. Since the group's initial introduction by their native label's founder in January 2016, the group consists of 21 members as of January 2019, aging from their mid-teens to mid-twenties and participating in a total of four different sub-units.
|Origin||Seoul, South Korea|
The group introduced their first unit, the rotational NCT U, on April 9, 2016 with the double digital single "The 7th Sense" and "Without You". It was followed by the Seoul-based unit NCT 127 on July 7, 2016 with their eponymous extended play and later the then-teenage only unit NCT Dream on August 24, 2016 with the digital single "Chewing Gum." The group then introduced their first overseas localized sub-unit WayV, a seven-member unit based in China, on January 17, 2019 with the single album The Vision.
In January 2016, SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man delivered a presentation at the SM Coex Artium, titled "SMTOWN: New Culture Technology 2016." The label's plan was to debut a new boy group to "fall in line" with their culture contents strategy, containing "unlimited" number of members within the group whom would go on to debut in subsequent units. Furthermore, the group would have "sub-unit teams" and "collaborations" among these units. The name of the group was revealed to be NCT, an acronym from the presentation title. The group as a whole is SM Entertainment's first idol group in almost two years since the debut of fellow labelmate Red Velvet in August 2014 and subsequently the first boy group since the debut of South Korean–Chinese boy group Exo in 2012.
2013–2016: Formation and pre-debut activities
On December 2013, SM Entertainment introduced the first trainees from the pre-debut training team SM Rookies, including Taeyong and Jeno. The team went on to introduce a total of sixteen other members until early January 2016, eventually becoming the preparation for NCT. Members were cast through various auditions, with Johnny, Yuta, Ten, Mark and Renjun joining the company via SM Global Auditions, while the remaining members were discovered through street casting, personal recommendations and community entertainment shows.
In January 2016, SM founder Lee Soo-man held a presentation at the SM Coex Artium titled "SMTOWN: Neo Culture Technology 2016," speaking about the agency's plans for a new boy group in line with their "culture contents" strategy that would be debuting different teams based in different cities/countries around the world.
2016: Debuts of NCT U, NCT 127 and NCT Dream
On April 4, 2016, SM Entertainment announced NCT's first unit, NCT U (the "U" standing for United), which at the time consisted of six members: Taeil, Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, and Mark. NCT U released digital singles "The 7th Sense" (Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, and Mark) on April 9 and "Without You" in two versions on April 10 (a Korean version sung by Taeil, Doyoung, and Jaehyun, and a Chinese version with the addition of SM Rookies' Kun).
On April 9, 2016, NCT U made their first broadcast appearance with NCT On Air on V Live, hosted by Super Junior's Kim Hee-chul. The same day, they had their first live performance in China at the 16th Music Feng Yun Bang Awards, with the addition of Chinese members Kun and Winwin. On April 15, the group made their debut in Korea on Music Bank. They have since appeared in three seasons of their reality series NCT Life, featuring other trainees from SM Rookies.
On July 1, SM announced NCT's second unit, NCT 127. The unit is based in Seoul, with the number "127" representing the longitude coordinate of Seoul. The unit debuted with seven members: Taeil, Taeyong, Yuta, Jaehyun, Winwin, Mark, and Haechan. On July 7, they had their official debut performance on the music program M Countdown, performing debut single "Fire Truck" and "Once Again." Their debut EP NCT #127 was released digitally on July 10 and physically on July 11. On July 29, the unit released the single "Taste the Feeling" for the project SM Station in collaboration with Coca-Cola, while continuing promotion for "Fire Truck" on television music shows like Music Bank, Show Champion, Inkigayo.
On August 18, SM announced that NCT's third unit would be called NCT Dream. The unit debuted with seven members: Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung. Their first single, "Chewing Gum," was released on August 24, and the group had their debut performance on M Countdown the next day.
On December 6, five members of NCT 127 (Yuta, Taeyong, Jaehyun, Mark, and Winwin) released a special dance music video for the song "Good Thing" in collaboration with W Korea. The track was eventually released on NCT 127's second EP, Limitless. On December 20, NCT 127 released the music video for "Switch." The single was previously issued as a bonus track on NCT 127's debut EP, and features the SM trainee group SR15B.
2017: Promotions for NCT 127 and NCT Dream
On December 27, 2016, NCT 127 announced they would be making a comeback with the addition of two members: NCT U's Doyoung and new member Johnny. On January 5, 2017, NCT 127 released two music videos for "Limitless" and performed the song on M Countdown. Their second EP Limitless was released digitally on January 6 and physically on January 9. The release debuted at number one on Billboard's World Albums Chart, and the title track was later named one of the best K-pop songs of the year by Dazed.
On February 1, 2017, NCT Dream revealed they would be releasing their first physical single The First on February 9. SM Entertainment announced that Jaemin would not be participating in this promotional cycle due to health problems. NCT Dream returned to the stage on M Countdown, performing the single "My First and Last" and the B-side "Dunk Shot." On February 14, NCT Dream won first place on the 100th episode of SBS MTV's The Show, marking the first-ever music show win for an NCT unit. NCT Dream was also unveiled to be the official ambassadors for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. They released the tournament's official theme song, "Trigger the Fever," on March 15.
On June 14, NCT 127 released their third EP, Cherry Bomb. They returned to the stage on M Countdown, performing the new songs "Cherry Bomb" and "0 Mile." Billboard and Idolator both later declared "Cherry Bomb" one of the best K-pop songs of the year.
On August 17, NCT Dream released their first EP We Young. They gave the title track its debut performance on M Countdown. In December, NCT Dream released their first Christmas song, "Joy".
2018: New members (Kun, Jungwoo and Lucas), large-scale projects, NCT 2018 Empathy
In mid-January, SM Entertainment unveiled NCT 2018, a project involving all 18 members of NCT. On January 30, SM released a video titled "NCT 2018 Yearbook #1," which featured all prior members and introduced new members Kun, Lucas, and Jungwoo. In February, NCT released a series of online documentary videos titled NCTmentary as part of the NCT 2018 project.
On March 14, NCT released its first full-length album, NCT 2018 Empathy. The album featured six singles, showcasing all current units of NCT: "Boss", "Baby Don't Stop", "Yestoday" (All NCT U), "Go" (NCT Dream), "Touch" (NCT 127), and "Black on Black" (NCT 2018).
On May 5, NCT topped Billboard's Emerging Artists chart, marking the first time that a K-pop act had led the list.
On September 3, NCT Dream released their second EP, We Go Up with the lead single of the same name. SM confirmed that Mark would be graduating from NCT Dream after completing promotions for the release.
On October 12, NCT 127 released their first full-length album, Regular-Irregular, with the lead single, "Regular". With the addition of Jungwoo, the group was officially expanded to 10 members. NCT 127 focused on promotions in America for the album.
On November 23, NCT 127 released the repackaged edition of Regular-Irregular, titled Regulate, along with the lead single, "Simon Says". It was announced that Winwin would not be participating in the comeback activities in order to prepare for his debut with WayV.
2019: Debut of WayV, NCT 127's concert tour and new projects for NCT Dream, WayV, and NCT U
On December 31, 2018, SM Entertainment announced NCT's fourth unit, WayV (pinyin: 威神V). The unit is based in China and consists of 7 members: Kun, Winwin, Ten, Lucas, Hendery, Xiaojun, and Yangyang. WayV is managed under Label V, a Chinese label collaborating with SM's production. The unit officially debuted on January 17, 2019 with a Chinese version of NCT 127's "Regular". Their debut single album, The Vision, was released digitally and also included a Chinese version of NCT 127's "Come Back" and an original song titled "Dream Launch".
On January 26, 2019, NCT 127 embarked on their first concert tour, Neo City – The Origin, with tour dates in Korea, Japan, North America and Europe. During the tour, they released the single, "Wakey-Wakey" on March 18 which would later be included on their first Japanese full studio album, Awaken, released on April 17. Their fourth EP, We Are Superhuman, was released on May 24 with the title track, "Superhuman."
On October 29, WayV released their second EP, Take Over the Moon, with the title track "Moonwalk".
On December 13, NCT U (consisting of Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun and Haechan) released "Coming Home" as part of the SM Station X project.
2020: Projects for NCT 127 and restructure of NCT Dream
On January 27, NCT 127 released a music video for a gift song titled "Dreams Come True", followed by the release of their second studio album Neo Zone on March 6, with the title track "Kick It", being their third release not to feature Winwin who is currently promoting with WayV. This also officially marked Jungwoo's return, who was on a hiatus for health reasons. On April 7, it was also announced by SM Entertainment that they will release the repackage version of the album, Neo Zone: The Final Round, with the title track "Punch", in 19th May. 
On April 14, NCT Dream announced they will release their fourth EP Reload, with "Ridin'" as the title track, on April 29 with the members Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle and Jisung. Following the album's promotions, they will remove their original concept in which members graduate when they reach 20 in Korean age (19 internationally) and will continue with seven members with originally graduated member Mark.
In May 2020, three NCT units are scheduled to hold live online concerts, in a series of concerts jointly organised by SM Entertainment and Naver on the world's first technology-aided live concert streaming service Beyond LIVE. The live concerts of WayV, NCT Dream and NCT 127 are scheduled for May 3, May 10 and May 17 respectively.
Adapted from the group's profile on SM Entertainment's official website.
|Taeil||April 9, 2016|
|Taeyong||April 15, 2016||127 leader|
|Yuta||July 7, 2016|
|Renjun||August 25, 2016|
|Johnny||January 5, 2017|
|Jungwoo||February 22, 2018|
|Kun||April 18, 2018[b]||WayV leader|
|Xiaojun||January 17, 2019|
- Mark originally graduated from NCT Dream on December 31, 2018, but rejoined after the restructure of the unit in 2020.
- Kun previously featured in the Chinese version of "Without You", as a member of SM Rookies. However, Kun did not make his official debut as a member of NCT until April 18, 2018, with "Black on Black".
- NCT U – Members change depending on who fits that concept.
- NCT 127 – Taeil, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, Winwin, and Haechan
- NCT Dream – Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung
- WayV – Kun, Ten, Winwin, Lucas, Xiaojun, Hendery, and Yangyang
- NCT 2018 Empathy (2018)
- Exo 90:2014 (Mnet)
- Mickey Mouse Club (Disney Channel Korea)
- NCT Life (Naver TV Cast, Oksusu, KBS Joy)
- NCT's Night Night (SBS) (Johnny and Jaehyun, plus Doyoung every Saturday broadcast) – The show was cancelled in January 2019 due to NCT 127's first concert tour.
- Yuedong Seoul (tbs) (Renjun)
Awards and nominations
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