'Omar Sharif' Cigarettes Burn Out After 8 Years

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'Omar Sharif' Cigarettes Burn Out After 8 Years

A Korean cigarette brand is to disappear off shelves after eight years.

The Korea Cigarette and Ginseng Corporation announced Thursday that it would cease to produce "Omar Sharif" cigarettes. The Tunisian company, Tagra, which formerly held the right to the Omar Sharif name recently sold it to a French company, Altadis, after the Korean cigarette monopoly refused to transfer the right to sell the brand in Korea to Tagra. The Korean company now plans to develop and produce a similar brand of cigarettes on its own.

Kyong-in Corporation, a small trading company, earned the right to use the brand name and started to export Omar Sharif cigarettes in 1992 after reaching a co-production agreement with the Korea Cigarette and Ginseng Corporation. It sold the cigarettes on the Korean market from 1995.

Omar Sharif gained popularity immediately after its introduction and by 1996 had become the second most popular cigarette brand. But it faced stiff competition from "Time" cigarettes, introduced July last year at the same price, and its popularity plummetted. It now holds a market share of only 0.8 percent.

by Choi Joon-ho

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