Is Lay Zhang Still a Member of EXO? K-Pop Star Leaves SM Entertainment

EXO's Lay Zhang has announced he has left SM Entertainment after the conclusion of his 10-year contract with the company.

The Chinese singer took to Instagram on Friday, April 8, to share a handwritten letter with fans to confirm his departure from SM on the band's 10th anniversary as a group.

Fans of EXO may well be wondering what Lay's decision means, and if he is still going to continue to be part of the group.

Is Lay Zhang Still A Member of EXO?

Lay Zhang
Lay Zhang attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. WireImage/Steve Granitz

In his letter, which he wrote in both English and Korean, Lay thanked his fellow members and SM Entertainment for their support over the past decade.

He wrote: "Ten years of growth, thank you all. Thank you to my EXO brothers for your company and encouragement.

"Thanks to my colleagues at SM for witnessing every step of my growth and achievement. Thank you to all my fans for your unconditional love and support."

Addressing his exit from the company, he said: "It's time to say goodbye as an employee of SM. It's also my new beginning as a 30-year-old."

However, for fans concerned that this means Lay will no longer be a part of EXO, the singer confirmed this is not the case, as he said he "will always be the Lay when my members need me."

Lay concluded: "I'm your family member in China, Zhang Yi Xing. Love you forever EXO."

EXO consists of nine members, Xiumin, Suho, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun as well as Lay.

Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Chen are currently completing their mandatory military service in South Korea, while Xiumin, D.O. and Suho have already finished theirs, and Kai and Sehun are expected to enlist in the future.

The K-Pop group originally debuted as EXO-K and EXO-M on April 8, 2012 with their hit track "MAMA," which also included former members Lu Han, Tao (now Z. Tao), and Kris Wu.

Following Lu Han, Kris Wu and Tao's respective exits from the group, Lay became the only remaining Chinese member of EXO and he continued to work with the band while also making solo music from 2015.

At the time, Lay founded Zhang Yixing Studio, a personal company to oversee his solo activities, and he has gone on to release several hit singles and solo albums, the latest of which is called "Producer" and was released on February 5, 2021.

After confirming his departure from SM Entertainment, Lay announced the release of his new single "JIU."

L-R: Chanyeol, D.O., Lay, Kai, Suho, Chen, Xiumin, Baekhyun and Sehun of EXO arrive on the red carpet at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) at Asia-World Expo in Hong Kong on December 2, 2016. ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images