NCT (Korean: ; an acronym for Neo Culture Technology) is a South Korean boy group formed by SM Entertainment and introduced by the label's founder in January 2016. The group consists of 23 members as of April 2021, ranging in age from late teens to mid-twenties and divided into four different sub-units.
The group debuted their first sub-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 sub-unit NCT 127 on July 7, 2016 with their eponymous extended play and the then-teenaged sub-unit NCT Dream on August 24, 2016 with the digital single "Chewing Gum". WayV, a seven-member sub-unit based in China and NCT's first overseas sub-unit, debuted on January 17, 2019 with the single album The Vision. NCT's second overseas sub-unit, NCT Hollywood, will be based in the United States and is set to debut at a later date.
Although each sub-unit promotes separately, NCT has united twice as a group to record two full-length albums, Empathy (2018) and Resonance (2020). Within two months of release, the latter sold over 2.6 million copies across its two parts, becoming the highest-selling physical album ever released by an act from SM Entertainment and earning the group their first Grand Daesang Award at the 2020 Asia Artist Awards.
Background and name
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 planned to debut a new boy group that would "fall in line" with their culture contents strategy, one that would contain an "unlimited" number of members that would go on to debut in units within the group. Furthermore, the members would form "sub-unit teams" and have "collaborations" with each other. The name of the group was later revealed to be NCT, an acronym for the presentation title. NCT as a whole was SM Entertainment's first idol group to debut in nearly two years since that of Red Velvet in 2014 and SM Entertainment's first boy group to debut since that of Exo in 2012.
2013-2016: Formation and pre-debut activities
Prior to joining SM Entertainment, some of the members were already involved in the entertainment industry. Jeno appeared in various commercials as a child. Jisung was a child actor and filmed movies such as Boys, Be Curious (2012) and Go, Stop, Murder (2013). Chenle was active on the Chinese music scene as a singer from 2009 to 2015; he released three albums and headlined a solo concert in China. In 2011, Yuta participated in the singing competition "Juice Winter Collection" in Japan, while Ten competed on the Thai TV show Teen Superstar under the name TNT. Xiaojun was a singing contestant on the Zhejiang TV program X-Fire in November 2015.
Johnny, Yuta, Ten, Mark and Renjun joined the company via SM Global Auditions, while the remaining members were discovered through street casting, personal recommendation and community entertainment shows. Prior to their debut as members of NCT, 19 of the 23 current members of NCT were introduced as part of SM Rookies, a pre-debut group of trainees under SM Entertainment that was created in December 2013. The first members of NCT to be introduced were Taeyong and Jeno. Sixteen other members were introduced through SM Rookies until early January 2016.
Taeyong released the short rap track "Open the Door" in July 2014 and featured on Red Velvet's second single "Be Natural" in October of the same year. He appeared alongside Johnny, Yuta, Ten, Jaehyun, Mark, Jeno, Donghyuk, Jaemin, and Jisung on the Mnet-produced Exo 90:2014, a show starring labelmates Exo, where they get to do dance performances to 90s K-Pop songs, and some of them appeared on EXO's music video remakes in the same year. From January through June 2015, Doyoung and Jaehyun were fixed MCs for the music show Show Champion; from July through December of that year, Yuta was a representative on Abnormal Summit, a series in which non-Korean men debate Korean culture. Mark, Jeno, Donghyuk, Jaemin, and Jisung were Mouseketeers on Disney Channel Korea's The Mickey Mouse Club. SM Rookies Boys held their first concert, titled SMRookies Show, which started in Seoul in September 2015 and later expanded to Bangkok, Thailand in February 2016. Taeil released his first solo soundtrack "Because Of You" for the series The Merchant: Gaekju 2015 on January 26, 2016. In April 2016, Kun sang with NCT U on the Chinese version of "Without You" and joined them for the song's promotional stages. Winwin performed NCT U's "The 7th Sense" at their first live performance in China at the 16th Music Feng Yun Bang Awards that same month. In October 2016, Johnny participated in the music festival "Spectrum Dance Music Festival" as an SM Dreamstation Crew DJ.
SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man held a presentation at the SM Coex Artium titled "SMTOWN: Neo Culture Technology 2016" on January 28, 2016, where he outlined the company's plans for a new boy group in line with their "culture contents" strategy that would debut different teams based in different cities and countries around the world.
2016: Debuts of NCT U, NCT 127 and NCT Dream
On April 4 2016, SM Entertainment announced NCT's first sub-unit would be NCT U (the "U" standing for United), which then consisted of six members: Taeil, Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, and Mark. NCT U released the 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, 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 alongside Chinese rookies Kun and Winwin. On April 15, the group made their debut in Korea on Music Bank. They have since appeared in three seasons of the reality series NCT Life, which features other trainees from SM Rookies.
On July 1, SM announced NCT's second sub-unit, NCT 127. The unit would be 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 sub-unit released the single "Taste the Feeling" for the project SM Station in collaboration with Coca-Cola while continuing promotion for "Fire Truck" on music shows such as Music Bank, Show Champion, and Inkigayo.
On August 18, SM announced that NCT's third sub-unit would be 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 included 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: Continued promotions for NCT 127 and NCT Dream
On December 27, 2016, NCT 127 announced they would be making a comeback with two new members, Johnny and NCT U's Doyoung. On January 5, 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. It debuted at number one on Billboards World Albums Chart, and the title track was later named one of the best K-pop songs of the year by Dazed.
NCT Dream released their first physical single, "The First", on February 9, although Jaemin did not participate in the promotional cycle due to health problems. NCT Dream returned to the M Countdown stage to perform 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 as 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 March 8, NCT 127 members Johnny and Jaehyun were announced as the DJs for SBS Power FM's new program, NCT's Night Night, which began airing on March 20. Doyoung joined the duo as a special DJ every Saturday. NCT 127 released their third EP, Cherry Bomb , on June 14. They performed the new songs "Cherry Bomb" and "0 Mile" on M Countdown.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, NCT 2018 Empathy, and first NCT 127 studio album
In January 2018, NCT U (consisting of Taeil, Doyoung, and Jaehyun) released the single "Timeless" as part of the SM Station project.
Later that month, SM Entertainment unveiled NCT 2018, a project involving all 18 members of NCT at the time. 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. NCT released their first full-length album, NCT 2018 Empathy, on March 14. The album featured six singles, showcasing each sub-unit of NCT: "Boss", "Baby Don't Stop", and "Yestoday" by various NCT U lineups; "Go" by NCT Dream; "Touch" by NCT 127; and "Black on Black" with all 18 members. NCT topped Billboard Emerging Artists chart on May 5, 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, alongside the lead single of the same name. SM confirmed that Mark would be graduating from NCT Dream after promotions for the release wrapped up.
On September 11, Xiaojun was the first of the then-undebuted WayV members to be introduced through SM Rookies, with Hendery and Yangyang following on September 13 and September 15, respectively.
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 the United States for the album. On November 23, the group 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 comeback activities in order to prepare for his debut with WayV.
On December 28, NCT Dream released the single "Candle Light" as part of the SM Station project.
2019: Debut of WayV, NCT 127 concert tour, and new projects for NCT Dream and NCT U
On December 31, 2018, SM Entertainment announced NCT's fourth sub-unit, WayV (Chinese: V; pinyin: W?i shén V) under Label V. The unit would be based in China and consists of seven members: Kun, Winwin, Ten, Lucas, Hendery, Xiaojun, and Yangyang. The sub-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 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 shows in Korea, Japan, North America and Europe. 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 alongside the title track "Superhuman".
On May 9, WayV released their first EP, Take Off, along with its eponymous title track, "Take Off".
On June 6, NCT Dream released "Don't Need Your Love," a collaboration with HRVY, on SM Station Season 3. The sub-unit released their third EP, We Boom, and its title track "Boom" on July 26.
On October 29, WayV released their second EP, Take Over the Moon, and 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: NCT Dream restructure, first WayV studio album, new members, and NCT 2020 Resonance
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 and its title track "Kick It". It was their third release not to feature Winwin and officially marked Jungwoo's return from health-related hiatus. On May 19, the repackaged version of the album, Neo Zone: The Final Round, was released with the title track "Punch".
On April 29, NCT Dream released their fourth EP Reload and its title track "Ridin'" with a lineup consisting of members Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle and Jisung. Following the album's promotions, they abandoned their original concept in which members graduate when they reach 20 in Korean age (19 internationally) and will continue as seven members with originally graduated member Mark returning.
In May, three NCT units held live online concerts in a series jointly organized by SM Entertainment and Naver on the world's first technology-aided live concert streaming service, Beyond LIVE. WayV, NCT Dream and NCT 127 performed on May 3, May 10 and May 17, respectively.
On June 9, WayV released their first full-length album, Awaken the World, and the title track "Turn Back Time".
In September, NCT announced they reunite for a second group project, NCT 2020, in October 2020. The first part of their second album, NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1, was released on October 12. The record featured all four existing units and two new members, Shotaro and Sungchan, who at the time were set to debut with a future NCT unit.NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1 garnered more than 1.1 million stock pre-orders ahead of release, making it NCT's first million-selling album without repackaging. NCT released NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 2 on November 23. At the COMEUP 2020 event held on November 22, the current CEO of SM mentioned plans to expand NCT to cities in Japan, several countries in Southeast Asia, and the United States, as well as several other global regions. On December 4, NCT released a new single titled "Resonance" as the finale of their second group studio album. The single combined the tracks "Make a Wish (Birthday Song)", "90's Love", "Work It", and "Raise the Roof" from their second studio album and features all 23 members.
2021: First NCT Dream studio album, introduction of NCT Hollywood, and NCT 2021
In an interview with Star News on January 13, Sungchan announced that a new unit would debut during the year.
On February 17, NCT 127 released their second Japanese EP, Loveholic.
On March 10, WayV released their third EP, Kick Back, with the title track of the same name.
On May 6, it was announced that SM would partner with MGM Worldwide Television Group on the competition series K-POP Goes Hollywood to recruit boys from age 13 to 25 from the United States to form an American NCT sub-unit called NCT Hollywood. The series will feature 21 contestants, of whom one winner will be selected to join NCT Hollywood, which will debut sometime in the future.
On May 10, NCT Dream released their first studio album Hot Sauce, which marked the group's first comeback as a seven-member group since 2018. The album sold more than 1.7 million copies in pre-orders. On June 28, the repackaged version of the album, Hello Future, with the title track of the same name, was released.
On June 11, it was announced that Kun and Xiaojun would form WayV's first sub-unit. They released their first single album, Back to You, containing 3 songs, on June 16. WayV's Ten and Yangyang debuted as a duo on September 17 with the English single "Low Low".
On June 28, SM revealed the planned releases for the group and its sub-units in the second half of the year: NCT 127 with their third Korean studio album in September and its repackage, WayV with their second studio album, NCT U with a fresh lineup, and NCT as a whole in an untitled NCT 2021 project.
At a fanmeet celebrating the fifth anniversary of their debut, NCT 127 confirmed their third Korean studio album would have a September release window. The album, Sticker, will be released on September 17. It consists of eleven tracks, including the lead single of the same name. It reportedly achieved 2,120,000 pre-orders. 
NCT Dream at the 2018 Incheon Airport Sky Festival (From left: Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Jisung, Jaemin, Chenle, Haechan)
Adapted from the group's profile on SM Entertainment's official website.
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.
Akdong Seoul (tbs) (Renjun, Chenle, Kun)
NCT 127 YUTA's YUTA at Home (InterFM897) (Yuta) - The weekly Japanese-language broadcast is set to start on December 4, 2020.
Awards and nominations
^Mark originally graduated from NCT Dream on December 31, 2018, but rejoined after the restructure of the unit in 2020.
^Winwin has been on hiatus from NCT 127 promotions since November 22, 2018, as a result of his promotions with WayV.
^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 March 14, 2018, with NCT 2018 Empathy.
^ abcYoon, Sang-geun (January 12, 2021). NCT "2021 ? "[(3)] [[Exclusive] NCT "I want to see my fans as soon as possible in 2021" [Interview(3)]]. StarNews. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved 2021.
^Sun, Mi-kyung (April 21, 2020). SuperM, 26? ' ' ? ? .. [SuperM, the first performer of 'Beyond Live' streaming service on the 26th ..]. OSEN (in Korean). Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved 2020 – via Naver.