NCT (Hangul: 엔시티) is a K-pop 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. The group consists of 21 members as of January 2019, aged from their late teens to mid-twenties.
The group's first unit NCT U made their debut on April
9, 2016 with the digital singles "The 7th Sense" and "Without You." The second unit NCT 127, based in Seoul, debuted on July 7, 2016, with the EP NCT #127. The third
unit NCT Dream made their debut on August
24, 2016 with the digital single "Chewing Gum." The fourth unit WayV, based in China
, debuted on January 17, 2019 with the single album
Preparations for NCT began in late 2013, through SM Entertainment's trainee group SM Rookies. 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 gave 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
around the world.
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
members Kun and Winwin.