Turns out Aki-P's plan for a Taiwan48 was not just a rumour.
TPE48 (TaiPEi48), Taiwan's own OOO48 group, was revealed on AKB48's official blog less than a month after plans for their first overseas sister group, JKT48, was announced to the public. Taipei, the country's capital, will serve as home to the group's theater. Auditions will kick off early 2012, and TPE48's stage debut will come as early as next summer.
Unsurprisingly, AKB48 enjoys high popularity in Taiwan; its official shop closed temporarily less than 4 months ago due to a high influx of visitors during Watanabe Mayu's stay in June. AKB even performed during the 2011 Golden Melody Awards, the country's equivalent of the American GRAMMY's and Japan's own Gold Disk Awards. Taiwan, I believe, is a good starting ground for the 48 family's international expansion, as the country also houses popular idol groups such as S.H.E. and Fahrenheit. In fact, sales of AKB48 music and goods in Taiwan amounted to approximately 66.6 billion yen (or 24 billion Taiwanese dollars) during the first half of 2011. An already established idol culture there will allow for TPE48 to see a greater measure of success; in my opinion, TPE will fare much better than JKT48 in their respective countries.
Since the group will be formed in a predominantly Chinese-speaking country, will they also host events in Mainland China and Hong Kong?
Blog announcement here.
Tentative official website here.