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Korean wave exports boom

Outbound shipments of Korean food, beauty, fashion and personal care products soared in the first half of the year on the back of the growing popularity of the Korean Wave, or hallyu.

Official data released today by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), shows exports of such goods amounted to US$6.79 billion in the January-June period, up 15.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Industry watchers said the growth is attributable to the cultural wave of “hallyu” in China and other Asian countries, which refers to the boom of South Korea-made entertainment goods, including pop music, movies and TV dramas. The popularity of hallyu helped turn its fans into consumers of South Korean products.

The growth was driven by cosmetics-related goods with their exports rising 38.5 per cent to reach $1.81 billion during the first half of the year.

Exports of foods also rose 3.5 per cent year-on-year to reach $2.43 billion, the data showed.

The association said South Korea’s diversified product portfolio helped meet demand from customers in overseas markets.

Last year, exports of such products amounted to $12.21 billion won, the data showed.

Earlier data also showed that exports of South Korea-made cosmetics more than tripled over the past five years.

Outbound shipments of makeup products reached $2.45 billion in 2015, surging 53.1 per cent from $1.56 billion a year earlier, according to the data by Korea Customs Service (KCS).

The 2015 figure soared more than threefold from $698 million in 2011, with an annual average growth of 36.9 per cent over the 2011-2015 period.

The total volume of cosmetics exports stood at 90,491 tons in 2015, compared to 31,606 tons tallied in 2011.

China is the biggest buyer of South Korean beauty products, importing $999.5 million last year, or 40.6 per cent of the country’s entire cosmetics exports.


  • Original reporting by Yonhap.



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