AKB48's Shanghai sister group holds first popularity poll


The results of a poll to pick the 16 singers who will perform on the next single by SNH48, the Shanghai-based sister group of the hugely popular all-female pop group AKB48, were released over the weekend at an event that drew more than 3,000 fans.

The results Saturday marked the first popularity poll held by SNH48, which was launched in October 2012 with 40 members. More than 130,000 online votes were cast during the poll, which started May 20 and ended Friday.

Wu Zhehan proved to be the most popular with 19,281 votes, but neither of the group’s two 23-year-old Japanese members — Sae Miyazawa and Mariya Suzuki — made the final cut. Miyazawa also belongs to SKE48, the Nagoya-based branch of AKB, and Suzuki is a member of AKB48.

SNH48 held its first concert in January 2013 and a theater exclusively dedicated to them opened in Shanghai last August.

AKB48, named after the Akihabara electronics and pop subculture district in Tokyo, has churned out a host of million-seller singles in recent years. They also have a sister group in Jakarta named JKT48.

In the sixth annual AKB48 poll in June, Mayu Watanabe clinched first place with 159,854 votes out of a record-high 2,689,427 cast.

More than 35,000 of the votes for Watanabe were believed to have been cast by Chinese.