NCT‘s Ten has finally made his long-awaited return to Korea, and NCTzens couldn’t be happier, especially after they have been raising concerns about Ten’s treatment by SM Entertainment throughout the year.
Ten is back home after a lengthy stay in China, where he participated in the variety show Great Dance Crew and showed off his serious main dancer skills.
Ten left for China back in September of 2021, making it around 9 months since he was last in Korea. His return has had fans so excited that he went viral on Twitter, trending with a total of over 2 million tweets.
Fans had previously called out SM Entertainment (and its subsidiary Label V, WayV’s managing company) for its unfair treatment of Ten while he carried out his solo schedules in China. Due to outbreaks of COVID-19, the shooting of Great Dance Crew was delayed, and Ten was forced to remain in Shanghai longer than originally planned.
Fans expressed anger at the company’s decision to leave Ten in China when he could have returned to Korea for NCT’s promotions, especially considering that his merch was still being sold despite his absence.
to shoot ‘Great Dance Crew’. Went there Sep 21. Shooting delayed but they kept him there . Not coming back for NCT2021 promo & smtown online concert but still sell his merch. Actual shooting start in Feb 22 and now pause due to lockdown since mid of Mar 22.
— Peanut 🐰 #NicetomeetTENinKorea (@pnbox14) April 28, 2022
But what really concerned NCTzens is that it was seemingly another instance of SM Entertainment’s alleged history of mistreating Ten.
Why is it that TEN is always treated so poorly by the agency??
I began to have reservations about the company's attitude toward foreign artists. #SMTreatTENBetter @SMTOWNGLOBAL @NCTsmtown @WayV_official
— ลหเฮียเตนล์ (@chitlee1010) April 27, 2022
The issue was once again raised following the news of NCT’s collaboration with Sanrio, which will see the members of NCT be matched with popular Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty. Fans felt that it was unfair that the company use Ten’s popularity to promote NCT as a whole but completely fail to promote Ten’s solo work in China.
SM using TEN to promote group projects, for collaborations, merchandise, where they can get money from his fans, but when it comes to Ten’s OWN works they’re always completely silent, doing nothing to support and promote him. https://t.co/2Wsb8Y3KXB pic.twitter.com/hatedYAWJy
— Aedus (@aedus1001) June 22, 2022
And since Ten reportedly contributed a considerable amount to the company’s profits in China, the unfairness has been even more keenly felt.
"Sales of 15.5 billion won (68% increase year on year) reflected 3.8 billion profits in relation to appearances in local activities in China by NCT #TEN, EXO Lay and Luhan."
-1Q22 SM Company report by Yuanta Korea
mygod i knew ten earned big, but didn't realize it's THAT big 😳 pic.twitter.com/QNtUDDCRO4
— ten pabo (@tenpabo143) June 22, 2022
Now that Ten is finally back home, fans can’t help but celebrate the fact he is finally reunited with his members…and his cats! Louis and Leon were naturally the first thing Ten posted on his Instagram story when he got home.
[OFFICIAL/VIDEO] 220627 #TEN’s Instagram story update (2)
— SM_NCT (@SM_NCT) June 27, 2022
Ten has accomplished much during his stay in China, and the heartfelt message of gratitude he posted about his time with Great Dance Show shows how sincerely he feels about the experience, despite having been away from home for so long.
We are looking forward to seeing Ten reunited with his members and participating in NCT’s activities again. Welcome home, Ten!