Who is Chou Tzu-Yu?

Known simply as “Tzuyu”, Chou Tzu-Yu is a singer/dancer for the popular Korean pop girl group, Twice. Referred to as Twice’s “maknae”, a term used for the youngest member of a K-pop group, Tzuyu is also involved in modeling, promoting brands, as well as other music and television projects.

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Tzuyu was born in East District, Tainen, Taiwan, on 14th June, 1999, under the star sign of Gemini – the 20-year-old star is now based in South Korea. Tzuyu has gained huge popularity, but also made international waves as a result of the fiasco she stirred up in China in 2015 when she appeared holding the Taiwanese flag on a television show.

Tzuyu’s family, education and early career

Tzuyu describes her father, Chou Yi-Cheng, and mother, Huang Yen-Lin, as being self-made entrepreneurs. She has an older brother who keeps his life private so not much is known about him.

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♥️ #twice#tzuyu#jyp#once#chewy

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From an early age, Tzuyu dreamt of a career in performance and entertainment. She enrolled in art classes and achieved elementary level at Tainan Municipal Fusing Junior High School. When Tzuyu was discovered by talent scouts in 2012, during her participation in the MUSE Performing Arts Workshop in Tainan, it resulted in her move to Seoul, South Korea. There she furthered her training at the Hanlim Multi Art School, studying dancing, singing and acting and graduated in 2019.

In 2015 Tzuyu took part in the reality TV show, “Sixteen”, co-produced by Mnet and hosted by JYP Entertainment, a South Korean multi-national record label and entertainment company – it was through the selection of the top nine vocalists on this show that Twice was formed.  Although Tzuyu was not in the final lineup of top contestants, she was exclusively chosen as a result of an audience vote.

How did Tzuyu and Twice achieve fame?

The group launched their career in October 2015 with their first live show promoting their debut extended play (EP) of six tracks, “The Story Begins”, featuring the hit lead single “Like Ooh-Ahh” originally composed by Black Eyed Pilseung. It broke records as the first debut K-pop number to achieve 100 million views on You-Tube, and is rated one of the most popular K-pop songs ever. By April 2016 over 70,000 copies of “The Story Begins” had been sold in South Korea, and over 12,000 in Japan.

Fame came quickly, and by 2016 Tzuyu was recognized as the third most popular idol among South Koreans, according to Korea’s yearly musical survey, the Gallup poll. Her beauty and vocal talent earned the brown haired, dark eyed, 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) tall star weighing 105lbs (48kgs) many positive compliments in circulating media reports.

How the controversial flag incident flared up

In November 2015 Twice featured on “My Little Television”, a Korean variety show.

Posted by Chou Tzuyu on Monday, March 6, 2017

Three of Twice’s members, Momo, Sana and Mina being Japanese, displayed their flag. When Tzuyu introduced herself and her homeland, she was waving a Taiwanese flag; this may have been inoffensive to the Koreans, but Chinese viewers, who considered the Taiwanese flag a symbol of Taiwan’s pro-independence movement, were infuriated. To make matters worse, the China-based Taiwanese singer, television host, comedian and writer, Huang An, accused Tzuyu of being a Taiwanese independence activist. Huang An was well-known for his firm anti-independence stance, and the controversies he had caused exposing other entertainers, whom he perceived to have anti-Chinese views, resulted in them being blacklisted from mainland shows and created negative repercussions on their careers.

JYP Entertainment suspended Tzuyu from performing at the time, and they themselves were later boycotted, fell under investigation regarding the ethics of their actions and their share price on KOSDAQ dropped significantly.

Twice was banned from Chinese television, Huawei cancelled their sponsorship and Tzuyu’s promotion of their products. Conversely, Huang An was taken to task with the cancellation of his participation in an upcoming Taiwanese TV show, the permanent removal of his music from a karaoke chain, and had lawsuits filed against him.

Tzuyu’s apology flares up a greater furore

After the unexpected eruption, Tzuyu, merely a teenager at the time, apologized in a video saying that she felt deep remorse for her actions, emphasizing, ‘there is only one China’. JYP Entertainment likewise issued an apology, but they didn’t realize how sensitive an issue this was. Although even the Taiwanese independence movement would not consider Tzuyu’s action as being an endorsement of their cause, non-Taiwanese would not know this.

Chou Tzu-Yu

The video was released, and resulted in Taiwanese youths expressing their anger on the day before the Taiwanese presidential election in 2016, with many saying Tzuyu had been forced to apologize. This resulted in the three presidential candidates issuing statements in her support. A survey maintained that Tzuyu’s apology had swung 1.34 million young voters to either vote or change their votes, culminating in the main opposition party gaining favor. JYP’s website was hacked and was offline for some days.

The debacle’s affect on the Taiwanese national elections gained international coverage, as it sparked off outrage and political debates. Historically, many Taiwanese artists express themselves as Chinese in order to enter the massive K-pop China market. Many entertainers had been sent home and prohibited from entering China as a result of their alliance, or perceived alliance, to the Taiwanese independence movement.

JYP Entertainment responded by stating that they would implement cultural sensitivity training for their staff and entertainers, and had amended their regulations to protect them from potential future political conflicts and controversies.

Twice continues their drive on the road to success

Notwithstanding all the commotion caused, Twice released the EP “Page Two” in April 2016, and within a few months broke the previous record by notching up more than 150,000 sales by an all girl K-pop group in a year.

By September, Twice had re-branded their color theme as neon magenta and apricot, called their fan base “Once” and released the single “One in a Million” on 20th October. November saw the video release of the single “Cheer Up”, which had featured on the EP, “Page Two”, and which went on to win “Song of the Year” at the Mnet Asian Music and the Melon Music Awards. Simultaneously, the single “TT” capped all milestones for K-pop by achieving 100 million views on YouTube within a short space of time, and reached 200 million views by year-end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpZlVMloRHY

In 2017 Twice kicked off the year with “Twiceland” – a tour of South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. They decided to focus on their growing fan base in Japan by creating their Japanese website and social media channels, officially launched their first Japanese album, “#Twice”, and staged a concert in Tokyo. The album featured five of their original songs translated into Japanese, and “One More Time”, their first Japanese single, rocketed the group to achieve top sales in Japan for a girl K-pop group.

Twice racked-up further success, with their album “Twicetagram” topping the Billboard World Albums chart. In 2018 they toured South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia under the banner of “Twiceland Zone 2 – Fantasy Park”. They released another two Japanese singles, “Candy Pop” and “Wake Me Up”, and the album “BDZ”, as well as their sixth EP, “Yes or Yes”.

In 2019 Twice launched the mini album, “Fancy You” and embarked on their third world tour, “Twicelights”, starting off in Seoul, through the US and Mexico, Malaysia and Japan, with the finale back in Seoul. In September they launched their eighth mini album, “Feel Special” featuring seven tracks in collaboration with top composers, with most of the lyrics written by Twice members themselves. The aim is to reach 12 consecutive hits with the title track, “Feel Special”, and it looks like they are well on their way to doing so as the album reached top sales for a K-pop girl group in the first week. Twice have now sold over six million albums globally.

Tzuyu and social media

Tzuyu is very active and connective on social media. Her Instagram profile, T.zuyu, has over 45,000 followers, her fan page, tzuyued over 250,000 followers, over 600,000 followers on Twice Tzuyu, plus numerous other pages created by fans.

Twice has 11.5 million followers on their official Instagram page. Tzuyu keeps her Facebook page private, but once again, there are several fan pages with almost 650,000 followers on one of them. Her Twitter page has over 5,000 followers and the TzuyuPics profile almost 70,000.

Does Tzuyu have a boyfriend?

According to JYP’s contracts, their artists are not permitted to enter into relationships for three years after signing. As a result, Tzuyu is single and presently focused on her career.

What is Tzuyu’s net worth?

It is apparent that Tzuyu has worked hard to achieve success, as have all the Twice group members. In addition to their musical accomplishments, they sell branded merchandise, and Tzuyu, and some of the other members, are endorsed by a long list of company brand names as commercial film models.

They have also featured on countless TV shows such as “Weekly Idol”, “A Look at Myself”, “Running Man” and their own reality TV shows “Twice TV” and “Twice Private Life”.

With such an impressive and loaded discography, filmography and record-breaking history behind them, it has been reported that Twice is one of the best investments that JYP Entertainment has ever made. The company originally invested the equivalent of $429,000 in Twice’s debut EP, and within a short space of time after the launch, augmented by the signing of additional commercial film contracts for Twice members, achieved a profit of some $3 billion!

The young Tzuyu, as one of the greatest K-pop idols, has raised the benchmark for income amongst Taiwanese musicians, and according to authoritative sources, currently has a net worth close to $5 million. It’s most inspiring to see how her dedication and hard work has paid off, even in the face of adversity, and she and the group continue to reach even greater heights. It could lead one to speculate whether Tzuyu’s achievements have even surpassed her wildest dreams.

Author

Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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