In a move which follows those of larger beauty players who have already enjoyed strong growth in China, Carver Korea is a key cosmetics player with a portfolio of small- to mid-sized brands now looking to tackle the beauty market giant of China.
“China is a tough market to get into, but it is also a mine of opportunities,’’ Carver Korea director Ahn Jang-kyun confirmed in an interview with The Korea Herald.
Chinese consumers show great enthusiasm for Korean brands, with recent research carried out by the Seoul Business Agency showing that those aged 20 to 40 give Korean cosmetic and personal care products a 90% approval rating.
Indeed, cosmetics exports from Korea topped $288 million during the first quarter of this year, which is a rise of almost 25% percent from the same period a year earlier.
Amorepacfic has been a major Korean beauty success story over in China since it began its major push to court consumers there in 2011 with its Laneige brand, and is confident of reaching its $626 million sales target there by the end of 2015.
The planned expansion by Carver Korea indicates smaller brands are now looking to make the move too.
“We’re taking a step-by-step approach to raise brand recognition in one of the fastest-growing beauty markets in the world,” Ahn told The Korea Herald.
Tough nut to crack
Despite the general success of Korean cosmetics in, brands still voice caution.
“Doing business in China is hard because their rules change every day and there are too many risks for foreign firms,” Seo Young-pil, chairman of Korean beauty giant Able C&C which owns the highly popular brand Missha, says.
The ability to be responsive to the quickly changing market preferences in China has been repeatedly called up as a key factor for a brand’s success in the country, and explains the strong foothold domestic brands are still maintaining there despite big investment by international brands like L’Oreal.