Seeking global recognition, Hite-Jinro aims to double exports

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Seeking global recognition, Hite-Jinro aims to double exports

Hite-Jinro Group, the country’s largest producer of alcoholic beverages, said yesterday it hopes to emerge as a global liquor company by doubling its overseas sales and achieving exports of 300 billion won ($267 million) by 2017. It said it plans to increase the share of exports to total sales to over 18 percent within five years, up from 7.5 percent at present.

To achieve this goal it intends to establish local distribution networks, expand its product portfolio, forge more partnership with overseas corporations, acquire local companies and developing more export-friendly products, it said.

CEO Yang Yin-jib said the company is still chasing the acquisition of a Japanese soju factory it began trying to buy in 2008, based on investment of around 14 billion won.

Hite-Jinro’s Japanese operation saw sales exceed 23.5 billion yen ($300 million) last year. It currently ranks as the ninth-biggest liquor maker in Japan, making it the first foreign player to break inside the top 10.

Much of its success is based on localizing its products to suit Japanese tastes, and this led its operating profit in the country to double to 1.19 billion won last year.

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