Hong Kong-based AS Watson has chosen its part-owned German subsidiary Rossmann for its next Asian market debut, South Korea.
The German drug-store brand has confirmed it will begin selling products in South Korea on May 1, shipping direct from Germany. It will sell online only.
Dirk Rossmann GmbH, named after its founder, is 40 per cent-owned by AS Watson, but the Hong Kong company includes its store network in its fast-growing tally of stores. The company opened its 15,000th store in Kuala Lumpur this week and is currently expanding internationally at a rate of one new store every seven hours.
A joint venture between AS Watson and Rossmann operates more than 3100 stores in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Albania. According to a report in Korea Bizwire, the company plans to make “full-scale inroads into the domestic health and beauty market” through Rossmann Korea.
It will adopt a direct-to-market business model, rather than stock goods in existing retail chains.
An AS Watson spokesperson told Inside Retail Asia that Rossmann’s Own Brand products are famous not only in countries where they operate a retail network, but also in Eastern Europe where they are distributed in Watsons stores, and in Switzerland where they are distributed in a local supermarket chain. Online, Rossmann sells in China.
According to Korea Bizwire, Rossmann chose South Korea as its first Asian market “as Korean consumers were a match with the company’s meticulousness and strictness on their products, where both parties value safe, good quality products offered at reasonable prices”.
“For South Korea, Rossmann will be launching via online platforms about 100 SKUs of its own products in body and skin care, baby care, and organic food,” the AS Watson spokesperson told Inside Retail Asia.
According to a Rossmann spokesperson, Korean consumers will experience reliable goods and services through official fast-paced shopping malls. “Rossmann will do its best to help more people make direct transactions with ease.”
The brand will host quiz events on its Instagram and Facebook pages until April 8 and promotions include prizes of Starbucks coupons and Rossman Korea goods such as water bottles and umbrellas for winners.
The Rossman family own 60 per cent of the business, which is headquartered in the German town of Burgwedel near Hanover.