NCT (Hangul: 엔시티) is a South Korean boy group formed by S.M. Entertainment. Their name stands for the Hallyu localization project Neo Culture Technology, a term coined by S.M. Entertainment 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.
The group’s six-member unit NCT U made their debut in April 2016 with digital singles “The 7th Sense”, and “Without You.” The second unit, NCT 127 based in Seoul, made their debut in July 2016 with the mini album NCT #127. The third unit, NCT Dream made their debut in August 2016 with digital single “Chewing Gum”. Subsequent units are expected to debut in China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Most of the members of NCT were formerly part of SM Rookies, a pre-debut group of S.M. Entertainment trainees.
In January 2016, S.M. Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man gave a presentation at the SM Coex Artium titled “SMTOWN: New 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 countries around the world.
2016: Debuts of NCT U, NCT 127, and NCT Dream
On April 4, 2016, S.M. Entertainment announced NCT’s first unit, NCT U consisting of six members: Taeil, Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun and Mark. NCT U released double digital singles “The 7th Sense” on April 9 and “Without You” on April 10 in two versions (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 Naver V-app, 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, along with two other Chinese members, Kun and WinWin. The group made their debut in Korea on music program KBS‘s Music Bank on April 15 and have subsequently appeared in three seasons of their reality series NCT Life, featuring other SM Rookies.
On July 1, S.M. Entertainment announced NCT’s second unit, NCT 127. NCT 127 is based in Seoul, with the number 127 representing the longitude coordinates of Seoul. The unit consists of seven members: Taeil, Taeyong, Yuta, Jaehyun, WinWin, Mark and Haechan (formerly known as Donghyuck). On July 7, they had their official debut stage on the music program M Countdown, performing their title track “Fire Truck” and “Once Again” from their album. Their debut EP NCT #127 was released digitally on July 10 and physically on July 11. The 3rd season of NCT Life, which features NCT 127 in Paju, premiered on July 16, 2016. On July 29, the unit released the single “Taste the Feeling” for the project SM Station in collaboration with Coca-Cola.
On August 18, S.M. Entertainment announced that NCT’s third unit would be called NCT Dream. The unit consists of seven members: Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung. Their first single Chewing Gum was released on August 24 and the unit had their debut stage on M Countdown on August 25.
On December 6, 5 members of NCT 127 (Yuta, Taeyong, Jaehyun, Mark and Winwin) released a special dance music video, Good Thing in collaboration with W Korea. The single was eventually released on NCT 127’s second mini album, Limitless. On December 20, the music video for “Switch” was released. The single was previously released as a bonus track on NCT 127’s mini album NCT#127, and features SR15B.
2017: Limitless, The First
On December 27, NCT 127 announced that they would be making a comeback with the addition of two members, Johnny and Doyoung. On January 5, 2017, the music videos of “Limitless” was released and the unit had their comeback stage on M Countdown. Their second mini album Limitless was released digitally on January 6, 2017 and physically on January 9, 2017.
On February 1, 2017, NCT Dream announced that they would be releasing their first single album The First on February 9. SM Entertainment announced that Jaemin won’t be participating in this comeback due to his health problems. The unit had their comeback stage on M Countdown, performing the title track “My First and Last” and the B-side track “Dunk Shot”. On February 14th, NCT Dream was revealed to have won 1st place on the 100th episode of SBS MTV’s The Show. This marks the first ever music show win for a NCT unit. NCT Dream was unveiled as the official ambassador for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea. They released the official theme song, “Trigger the Fever” on March 15.
- NCT U (Taeil, Taeyong, Doyoung, Ten, Jaehyun, Mark)
- NCT 127 (Taeil, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Winwin, Mark, Haechan)
- NCT Dream (Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisun