South Korean cosmetics have seen hot sales in China in recent years, becoming popular alongside the latest Korean dramas as young women emulate the show’s glamorous stars, the Beijing-based Economic Observer reports.
Korean cosmetics brands such as Sulwhasoo and Laneige have been actively promoted in Korean dramas.
“The star effect really works very well,” said one unnamed senior executive with dozens of years of experience in the cosmetics industry. “While most European and US cosmetics brands performed badly last year, Korean cosmetics reversed the market trend to grow sharply.”
The executive attributed the high growth of Korean cosmetics brands to their originally low market scale and low base, and the fact that Korean dramas have made the country’s lifestyle and products fashionable in China.
Behind the active promotion of Korean brands is cosmetics firm AmorePacific Group, which has built a large-sized production base in Shanghai, with Sulwhasoo being the high-end brand, Laneige for the international markets and Mamonde for the youth segment. Yet only seven years ago, almost no one knew the Korean company in China.
Japanese cosmetics brands used to be relatively popular in China but now Korean brands are getting more attention because of the popularity of the country’s dramas and the stars who advertise them.
AmorePacific, whose position is similar to Samsung in the digital world, has almost dominated the Korean cosmetics industry, owning some 30 brands and taking 40% of the total South Korean market, far ahead of second-ranking LG.
However, in the Chinese market Korean cosmetics brands can at best take the “Best Newcomer Award” or the “Annual Outstanding Performance Brand,” as the counters in most shopping malls are still dominated by European and US brands. South Korea is still a force though. For consumers, there is heightened interest from Chinese tourists who are now visiting South Korea as opposed to Hong Kong, since Korean products are cheaper and may even be closer.