There has been increased interest in Korean products due to the Korean wave as people around the world see interesting new products on their favorite K-pop videos and dramas. As people connect through the internet and social networking services, Korea has seen new interest in exports in many areas.
SM Town Live concert 2011 in Paris (L), K-pop group SHINee (R) (Photo:Yonhap News)
According to the Korea Customs Service, the number of exports to countries in the Middle East, Central and South America and Central Asia have increased steadily over the past few years. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia now exceed 10 billion dollars worth of exports, and Peru, Mexico and Brazil’s export volume has increased by 50% since last year.
Since the Korean drama Daejanggeum kicked off the Korean wave in Iraq, exports of consumer goods increased tremendously, with last year’s total consumer goods exports reaching 750 million dollars. Also, exports of products such as air conditioners and other home appliances increased 10 times since last year and exports of Korean drinks increased 20 times.
Korean drama Jumong (L), Daejanggeum (R)
Since 2007 Iranian premier of the Korean dramas Daejanggeum and Jumong, exports of consumer goods have increased 46.3 percent and surpassed 1 billion dollars. Also, the export of televisions has more than doubled and exports of cars, home appliances, cosmetic products and beverages keep increasing. The export volume of Korean products to Saudi Arabia has now totals 1.9 billion dollars.
Due to the increase awareness of Korean idol groups and K-pop, many people from Central and South America have developed a strong interest in Korean products. In Peru, exports doubled this year for a total of 340 million dollars. Brazil, meanwhile, has seen an increase in the areas of home appliances and motor bikes.
(Photo: Yonhap News)
Exports to countries like Vietnam and Thailand are increasing, too. In Vietnam, products such as cosmetics, accessories and clothes are the most common exports, and the export growth rate in 2010 was 128.7 percent to Vietnam, 112.1 percent to Thailand and 211.2 percent to the Philippines.
The Korean beauty market is booming, with lots of tourists coming specifically to shop for cosmetics and beauty treatments or buying exported versions in their home country. Because of the Korean wave, exports of Korean cosmetic products increased 38.7 percent compared to last year. According to the Korea Customs Service, in the first half of 2010, the export of Korean cosmetic products totaled 240 million dollars spread among 119 countries. Asian countries like China, Japan and Taiwan dominated, accounting for 87 percent.
Korean cosmetic brands, The History of Whoo (L), Missha (R)
Korean cosmetic brand “The History of Whoo” has become especially popular in China, Japan and Taiwan, while in Vietnam it ‘beat Lancome and Estee Lauder brands to hold 16 percent of the market.
BB (blemish balm) Cream is among the most popular products, with tourists from Japan and China bringing it back to their home countries as gifts for friends and families. Popularized domestically by Korean actresses and Korean dramas, BB cream is now a hit from South East Asia to Europe and the US. Missha’s M Perfect Cover BB Cream is the most famous, with fans all over the world.
Korean cosmetic brands, The Face Shop (L), Skin Food (R)
Other popular products include Faceshop’s foot peel and Skin Food’s Black Sugar Scrub. The Faceshop’s foot peeling product causes the feet to peel over the course of three or four days, revealing smoother, softer skin. Skin Food’s Black Sugar Scrub also helps people reveal significantly smoother skin through the mild exfoliation powers of black sugar.
According to the Korea Customs Service, in the early 2000s, cars and home appliances dominated overseas exports, but because of K-op many more people have become interested in Korean cosmetics, accessories and clothes and spurred exports in those areas.