S. Korea, Japan brands are the new beauty 'queens' in China

CELEBRITY PULL: South Korean singer-actress Im Yoona and actor Lee Min Ho are the brand ambassadors for South Korean beauty brand Innisfree. China imported $1.65 billion of South Korea cosmetic products last year.


    Mar 09, 2016

    S. Korea, Japan brands are the new beauty 'queens' in China

    AN INCREASING number of Chinese consumers of foreign cosmetic products are switching allegiance to South Korean and Japanese brands from French and American labels.

    Of the global beauty and personal care products bought by Chinese consumers in the past six months, South Korean brands accounted for 47 per cent, followed by Japanese labels (29) and French ones (24), according to Overseas Online Shopping, a research report by Mintel Group.

    The latter is a British firm that tracks the global fast-moving consumer goods industry.

    South Korean brands offer a wide range of products at competitive prices.

    For instance, Innisfree alone offers more than 2,000 items for in-store experience.

    South Korean cosmetic makers also adopt smart strategies like targeting tourists, particularly high-spending Chinese ones, at airports and malls via duty-free outlets.

    From Feb 4, stores of Aritaum, Laneige, Innisfree and Etude in major commercial districts in South Korea even started providing instant cash refund of sales tax to tourists.

    Two Aritaum stores in Seoul opened plush tax refund lounges exclusively for tourists.

    Japanese brands also pamper millions of Chinese tourists every year with high-quality products.

    The humongous China market is becoming increasingly important for global cosmetics players. South Korean and Japanese brands, particularly the former, are aggressive in efforts to penetrate China.

    According to South Korea Customs, exports of make-up and beauty products to China alone almost doubled to US$1.19 billion (S$1.65 billion) last year.

    It is no wonder that AmorePacific, South Korea's leading cosmetics maker, has a sales network covering more than 350 cities in China. On Feb 26, it signed a deal with Alibaba to sell its high-end brands Sulwhasoo and IOPE on this year.