15 best foreign K-pop idols who are popular worldwide

Check out the ultimate list of the most popular foreign K-pop idols, who have been ruling the industry since their debut.

Updated on Feb 27, 2024  |  02:53 PM IST |  164.6K
Sana, Momo (credit: JYP Entertainment), Lisa(credit: YG Entertainment)
Sana, Momo (credit: JYP Entertainment), Lisa(credit: YG Entertainment)

With the globalization of K-pop, many non-Korean K-pop idols made their debut in the Korean music industry. Over the years, many traveled from the other side of the world to achieve their dream of becoming an idol in the Korean Entertainment Industry. Foreign idols like BLACKPINK’s Lisa, TWICE’s Momo, Sana, GOT7’s Jackson Wang, and more have paved the way for K-pop idols who aren’t Korean. It’s really refreshing to see the diversity and harmony K-pop is bringing with its new talents from all over the world. So, let’s check out a comprehensive list of the most popular foreign K-pop idols, who are actively captivating the fans with their charms.

List of 15 best foreign K-pop idols



Hailing from Thailand, Lisa made her K-pop debut on August 8, 2016, with the girl group BLACKPINK. She is considered a K-pop icon for her extraordinary stage presence, and amazing dance and rapping skills. Lisa made her solo debut in 2021, with the single album LALISA, which became an instant hit worldwide, furthering her popularity.

2. Nichkhun: 2PM

Nichkhun is the first Thai K-pop idol in the industry, who was born in America, and grew up in Thailand. He made his debut under the JYP Entertainment boy group 2PM. In 2018, Nichkhun made his solo debut in Japan. In the K-pop industry, he is known as the Thai prince, who lead the way for many Thai idols in the coming years.


3. BamBam: GOT7

BamBam is a renowned K-pop idol, who came from Bangkok, Thailand. He made his K-pop debut in 2014 with the JYP Entertainment boy band GOT7. Following his group’s contract expiration with the agency, along with other members, BamBam also ventured into solo activities. The Thai rapper made his solo debut on June 15, 2021, with the EP riBBon.

4. Jackson Wang:  GOT7

Born and brought up in Hong Kong, China, Jackson Wang is an athlete-turned-idol, who used to represent his nation’s fencing team. After years of training, in 2014, he made his debut in K-pop with the JYP Entertainment boy group GOT7. He made a solo debut in 2017, with the single titled Papillon. After GOT7’s contract expiration with JYP in 2021, along with other members, he ventured into international activities.

5. Mark Tuan: GOT7

Born in California, Mark Tuan is an American K-pop idol of Taiwanese descent. After years of extensive training, he made his debut as the oldest member, main rapper, and visual of the boy band GOT7. Later in 2020, Mark made his solo debut with the digital single Outta My Head.

6. Sana: TWICE

Sana is a Japanese K-pop idol, who was born and brought up in Osaka, Japan. In October 2015, She made her debut with the third-generation girl group TWICE’s first album The Story Begins. Shortly after, she became popular due to her ethereal voice, adorable personality, and captivating visuals.

7. Momo: TWICE

Hirai Momo, known mononomusly as Momo, is from Kyoto, Japan, who made her K-pop debut in October 2015, with the JYP Entertainment girl band TWICE. She is best known for her fitness and outstanding dance skills.

8. Mina: TWICE

Mina is another Japanese K-pop idol who debuted with the JYP Entertainment third-generation girl group TWICE. She is renowned as one of the strongest dancers in the group, along with Momo. In 2023, she debuted with the sub-unit group MiSaMo, along with Momo and Sana.


8. Tzuyu: TWICE

Tzuyu is another foreign idol in the third-generation group TWICE. She hails from Tainan, Taiwan, and made her debut in K-pop in October 2015. The TWICE lead dancer has earned notable recognition for her captivating visual and enchanting voice.

9. Lay: EXO

Hailing from Hunan, China, Lay made his debut as a K-pop idol with the SM Entertainment boy band EXO on June 3, 2013. Besides being an idol, he also garnered attention as an actor and TV personality. In 2022, he left SM Entertainment and ventured into solo activities, but he promised to continue as an EXO member.

11. Sakura: LE SSERAFIM

Coming from Kagoshima, Japan, Sakura made her debut as a member of the former girl group IZ*ONE. Later, she joined the SOURCE MUSIC girl group LE SSERAFIM on May 2, 2022. She is considered a super idol in the K-pop industry for her extreme professionalism, charming visuals, charismatic personality, and excellent fan service.

12. Kazuha: LE SSERAFIM

Coming up next is another Japanese member of LE SSERAFIM, Kazuha. Before debuting as a K-pop idol, she used to be a ballet dancer. She made her debut in LE SSERAFIM on May 2, 2022, with the group’s first mini album FEARLESS. Kazuha is vastly complimented for her elegant visual and bright demeanor.

13. Hanni: NewJeans

Born and raised in Melbourne, Hanni is an Australian K-pop idol of Vietnamese descent. On July 22, 2022, she made her debut at the age of 16, with the new generation girl group NewJeans. Besides being a promising idol, Hanni is popular for her charismatic personality, adorable features, and charming voice. She is also an ambassador for a global luxury brand, earning her worldwide popularity.

14. NingNing: Aespa

NingNing is a popular K-pop idol, who was born and raised in China. On November 17, 2002, she made her K-pop debut with the SM Entertainment group Aespa. NingNing quickly garnered fame for her appealing visual and extraordinary talents. She is one of the most-discussed female idols in the K-pop community.


15. Minnie: (G)I-DLE

Hailing from Bangkok, Thailand, Minnie debuted on May 2, 2018, with the fierce girl group (G)I-DLE. Apart from her enchanting voice, she earned popularity for her striking gaze and powerful eyes. In Septemeber, 2018, Minnie made her acting debut with a Netflix original sitcom titled So Not Worth It.

Apart from these popular idols, there are also many foreigners actively working in the K-pop industry. Amongst the K-pop idols from Australia of Korean heritage, BLACKPINK’s Rosé, Stray Kids’ Bang Chan and Felix, NewJeans’s Danielle, and NMIXX’s Lily are most renowned for their unmatchable talents and powerful personalities. There are also many famous Korean-American K-pop idols such as Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany Young, f(x) member Krystal Jung, SEVENTEEN’s Joshua, and more. 

As the Hallyu wave takes over the world, more and more ambitious K-pop idols who are not Korean, work towards rising to fame in the music industry of South Korea. Over the years, there have been many debutant K-pop idols who are not Asian, especially with the rising groups, where most of the members are foreigners. The harmony amongst diversity is the best charm of the K-pop realm, making it a top music industry across the globe.

Stay updated with the latest Hallyu news on: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat


ALSO READ: Top 10 most popular young K-pop idols; SHInee Taemin, BoA, IVE Wonyoung, and more


Has there ever been an American K-pop idol?
There are surprising amounts of American K-pop idols including Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany Young, f(x) member Krystal Jung, SEVENTEEN’s Joshua, GOT7’s Mark Tuan, and moreg amounts of American K-pop idols including Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany Young, f(x) member Krystal Jung, SEVENTEEN’s Joshua, GOT7’s Mark Tuan, and more.

Are there any Mexican K-pop idols?
Kim Samuel is a Mexican K-pop idol, who is part Korean and part Mexican.

Is there a K-pop group with no Koreans?
BLACKSWAN is currently the only K-pop group with no Korean members.

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About The Author

An entertainment junkie and a big cinephile. She has a passion for cultivating compelling and impactful stories for her


Credits: JYP Entertainment, SM Entertainment, SOURCE MUSIC, YG Entertainment

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