Universal Music Group Signs International Agreement with Chinese Superstar Kris Wu

Kenneth Cappello
Kris Wu

The deal with the 27-year-old music producer, singer, songwriter and actor is the major's latest move to build inroads into the Chinese market.

Universal Music Group announced on Monday (April 23) it has signed Chinese superstar Kris Wu to an exclusive international recording contract. 

Under the deal, the 27-year-old music producer, singer, songwriter and actor will release future music internationally through a partnership with Universal Music China, Interscope Geffen A&M in the U.S., Island Records in the U.K. and UMG's global in more than 60 countries. The agreement excludes Japan and Korea. 

"Kris is an incredibly talented recording artist, songwriter, actor and entrepreneur," said UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge in a statement. "I'm thrilled that Kris is joining the UMG family and honored that we will have the opportunity to build upon his remarkably successful career."

Last October, Wu became the first and only Chinese artist to date to reach No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes chart with his single "Deserve," featuring Travis Scott. The song also peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales chart and helped Wu rise to No. 29 on Billboard's Emerging Artists chart.  

"It's my pleasure to be part of this collaboration with Universal Music Group," said Wu in a statement. "I'm enjoying the time to share creative and vision of my music. As a singer-songwriter and producer, the album I'm working on now is elaborately produced and rounded by me and I will keep working to deliver more beautiful works to all my audiences around the world."

Wu has also starred in recent films, including XxX: Return of Xander Cage, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back and is set to appear in filmmaker Wong Kar-wai's upcoming film Blossoms. As well, he has brand partnerships with Mercedes-Benz, American Express, BVLGARI, Burberry, McDonald's and Beats. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Kris and our sister companies to launch new global hit songs from Kris, who is a genuine musical talent," said Sunny Chang, chairman and CEO of UMG's greater China operations, in a statement. "As one of the industry's top producers and singer-songwriters, Kris has global ambitions and he's fluent in Mandarin, English and Korean, allowing him to uniquely overcome any language barrier. As China grows into one of the world's biggest music markets, Universal Music China will continue to develop Kris Wu as well as the very best Chinese talent and position its artists for success both in the local market and across the globe."

The deal follows other moves from UMG suggesting the top U.S. label is looking to better position itself in the Chinese market. Last year UMG signed a multi-year licensing agreement with leading Chinese digital music platform Tencent to grow its reach into the country. As well, the two companies are working together to build Abbey Road Studios China, a state-of-the-art recording and mastering facility inspired by the world famous London recording studio that UMG acquired in 2012.

"Kris is an incredible talent," said Interscope Geffen A&M chairman and CEO John Janick in a statement. "There are literally and figuratively no boundaries when it comes to his musical and cultural reach.  We are looking forward to working alongside Kris and his team to bring his vision to global scale."

Added Island Records president Darcus Beese: "Kris is a fantastic talent who represents the incredible opportunity of the modern music business – one without borders, where hit songs can come from anywhere in the world and seamlessly translate into great success whether in Asia, North America or the U.K. We're thrilled to work with Kris and excited about everything that he has in store for fans."