More Asians snapping up Korean cosmetics, F&B

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More Asians snapping up Korean cosmetics, F&B

Domestic cosmetics, food and beverages (F&B) are gaining in popularity in emerging Asian nations, with exports doubling in the last three years, Korea Customs Service (KCS) said yesterday.

As their economies strengthen, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia increasingly take up a larger share of global GDP, ramping up consumers’ purchasing power.

This, coupled with the impact of the renascent Korean Wave of cultural exports, is seeing appetites grow for Korean products to help offset the shortfall from winding-down demand in the West due to the euro zone crisis and a slow recovery in the United States.

According to the KCS, exports of cosmetics to Asia as a whole rose from $216.73 million in 2008 to $485.11 million last year. They are forecast to grow to $561.26 million this year, up 16 percent from 2011.

The five Southeast Asian nations were responsible for much of the sudden spike in demand, it added, as they accounted for $28.66 million in 2008 and a whopping $128.53 million last year.

Shipments of liquor and other beverages to the seven emerging Asian countries have also posted substantial growth over the same period, jumping from $197.83 million to $428.77 million. They are tipped to hit $455.9 million this year.

Meanwhile, ramen exports almost doubled from $58.9 million to $94.4 million, the KCS added.

“Emerging markets in Asia are increasing their consumption of good quality products at reasonable prices,” said Hwang Sung-taek, the CEO of Truston Asset Management.

For many Korean companies, these countries’ robust economic growth provides them with a vehicle to expand amid an already-saturated domestic market.

As the economies of many advanced countries remain sluggish, more investors are switching their attention to stocks related to consumer goods in search of stable, long-term profits. Market observers say many local cosmetics, skin care and F&B makers have seen their stocks surge in recent months.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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