Philip Morris starts making Heets in Yangsan
The first batch of products made at the factory in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang, will hit shelves here in late October. Currently, all Heets sold in Korea are imported from Italy. The manufacturing line in Yangsan will be one of six Heets factories worldwide and the only one in Asia. The other five are all located in Europe.
The manufacturing line for Heets is an expansion of Philip Morris’ existing Yangsan factory that has produced more traditional cigarettes for its Marlboro and Parliament brands since 2002.
After first announcing plans to build facilities to produce IQOS’ refill sticks in December, the company invested 300 billion won ($262 million) to establish necessary facilities and hire 344 staff who received training from Heets factories in Europe.
“Being able to offer Heets manufactured in Korea to local IQOS users will reflect the high manufacturing capability and quality management of PMKI’s existing Yangsan factory,” said Kim Byung-chul, Philip Morris Korea’s corporate affairs director.
The company said it does not have concrete plans to export Heets sticks at the moment, but is “positively considering the matter.” The existing Yangsan factory has exported combustible cigarettes to Asian countries in the past including Japan, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan.
Philip Morris’ heat-not-burn device IQOS and refill Heets sticks are currently sold in 43 countries worldwide.
During a press event held at the Yangsan factory on Thursday, Kim explained that manufacturing Heets sticks locally has the advantage of reducing costs, especially shipping fees and import tax, and faster adaptability to control supply according to local consumers’ needs.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]