Salons open to cosmetics giants

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Salons open to cosmetics giants

The nation’s major cosmetics companies such as Amore Pacific will now be able to operate their own beauty salons in Korea starting from 2019.

The government decided on Thursday to allow cosmetics companies to run their own shops in the Osong cosmetics regulation free zone following its plans, announced earlier last week, to boost domestic demand and the service sector, according to Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and North Chungcheong Province.

The government is aiming to diversify the goods for export as locally produced steel and chemical products in less demand overseas. The government wants to explore whether the new types of beauty salons will have potential in the global market.

Cosmetics giants such as Amore Pacific and LG Household & Health Care will now open their own beauty shops in the Osong regulation free zone once construction is complete in 2019.

These companies have longed to open their own shops to both promote their products and offer customized service to customers. However, government regulations restrict shops to individuals with certain certifications.

“IKEA has helped other local furniture manufactures to find their own ways to stay competitive in the market after it opened its first store in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi,” Chun Young-gil, a senior official at the ministry, said. “I hope the same thing happens in the cosmetics industry after the regulation free zone is finally introduced.”

A number of new hotels and commercial facilities are expected to move in to the regulation free zone to meet demands from local customers and Chinese tourists. “We plan to make certain tour programs that the Chinese can enjoy skin care services offered by the nation’s large cosmetics companies while also enjoying hot springs located nearby,” said Min Kwang-ki, a manager at the province’s bio policy team. “We might even make educational institutions that teach beauty related topics to foreigners.”

It is understood that Shim Sang-bae, president of Amore Pacific made suggestions to President Park Geun-hye in person at the ninth trade and investment promotion meeting held last week. “We wanted to mix our cosmetics products so that it can be customized for each customer at the store, but we have hard time doing so due to the regulations,” Shim told Park. He asked the President to allow them to open stores that they can offer customized services in either Seoul or the southern island of Jeju.

“Customers look for specific colors that meet their taste when they buy eye shadows or lipsticks, but we are currently only allowed to offer them what we have as the final products,” said an official at Amore Pacific. “It would be better for us to mix our own products at the shop so that customers can buy exactly what they want.”?

However, small-sized beauty salons are not welcoming the decision. Some of the related organizations are planning to sign a petition and to protest on the government’s plan.

“Most beauty salons are small businesses and they fear that they might have to close down the business if large cosmetics companies open their own stores nearby,” said Seo Young-min, a public relations manager at Korean Cosmetologists’ Association.

BY KIM MIN-SANG [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]



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