Looking West, JTI rebrands Mild Seven as Mevius
“Since Mild Seven is mainly sold in Asia, we changed the name in order to capture markets such as Europe and the United States,” said Park Pyung-kee, general manager at JTI Korea, at a press conference yesterday.
However, it is questionable whether the name change will boost sales in the domestic market amid the recent government movement to increase prices and Japanese product boycotts.
“We believe cigarettes are an important part of consumer inflation as cigarettes are considered necessities,” said Park.
The price of Mevius will remain the same as Mild Seven at 2,700 won ($2.40) per pack.
“We understand that there has to be tax increase to reduce smoking in Korea. However, what we wish for is a transparent, predictable and moderate increase that will not disrupt the market,” said Sadi Bruegger, regional communications director at JTI Korea.
JTI earlier suggested introducing price indexing to revamp the tobacco consumption tax in light of recent debate in the National Assembly on how to restructure the cigarette excise tax.
JTI Korea is concerned about a sharp decline in sales if the price of a pack goes to 4,500 won.
In regard to boycotts on Japanese products, JTI Korea communications manager Christie Kang said sales have hardly been affected.
“Korean consumers are mature enough to consider quality and service over political issues when it comes to spending,” Kang said.
Mild Seven, which showed high market share in Asia, accounts 6 to 7 percent of the domestic tobacco market.
By Kim Jung-yoon [email@example.com]
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