Cosmetic shipments on the up in China and Hong Kong

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Cosmetic shipments on the up in China and Hong Kong

Related tags Korean cosmetics Japan Korea

According to Customs Service statistics; from January to August of this year, Korea exported the most cosmetics to China - 19,358 tons (US$323 million), knocking Japan off of the top spot.

While Hong Kong made it into second place with 9,574 tons, at US$213 million; Japan lost its' position as the second largest importer of Korean cosmetics in the world with 8,207 tons of cosmetics (US$104 million).

For over 14 years, Japan has been competing with China and the U.S. to be the country Korea exports the most to, and it is the first time it has been beaten by Hong Kong.

Factors such as the depreciation of the Japanese yen were noted as having the knock on effect, with Korean cosmetics losing price competitiveness and not being able to penetrate the Japanese market as they do in the other two countries.

Chinese tourists fueling sales for South Korea

According to figures released by website Huanqiu, female tourists from China are fueling sales for South Korean cosmetics brands.

As many as 574,000 Chinese visitors were reported to be making the trip​ over to close neighbour Korea, which makes up 45% of all foreign tourists.

The research also featured statistics from the South Korean financial investment and tourism information system, that revealed Chinese enthusiasm for Korean cosmetics was not limited to incoming tourists, with exports to China also accounting for 54.7% of total Korean beauty exports.

Taxes and tariffs in Japan...

The Japanese government also announced that certain cosmetics purchases will soon be tax-free for foreigners visiting the country, in a move that aims to increase tourist spending in the country as of October 1st​ this year.

Foreign tourists can have consumption tax refunded on purchases up to ¥5,000 ($48) at designated tax-free shops on the provision they provide their passports.

The move is the government's effort to counterbalance​ the subsequent dip in sales by capitalizing on the huge growth in tourist numbers, which has come about thanks to the lower exchange rate of the Japanese Yen against foreign currencies.

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