As Korea's cosmetics gain momentum, China eyes up its R&D and production experts

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

As Korea's cosmetics gain momentum, China eyes up its R&D and production experts

Related tags International trade Korea

As Korean cosmetics really start to become known for their creativity and high quality, China has its sights set on the country's finest R&D and production personnel to help it compete in the beauty arena.

Various countries around the globe including China have begun to associate Korea's R&D and manufacturing capabilities as being of higher quality, sophisticated and environmentally friendly of late.

According to Business Korea; Chinese competitors are scoping out cosmetics professionals with 10 to 20 year careers that understand their development and production systems.

The regional publication reports that Korean companies may have an uphill battle with this as these Chinese companies are also investing in advanced technology "to go along with their price competitiveness and economy of scale."

Other experts, such as president of packaging supplier FS Korea, JKH Wang reckon that full service strategies are also “a key issue”​ for many Korean companies.

"Not only develop innovative products of our own, but cooperate with experts in formulation and packaging, which is a necessity. With full service, we can increase our business but there are also some drawbacks like on the suppliers’ side who take all the responsibility, including the investment​," says Wang.

Demand for 'Made in Korea'

According to the Korea Customs Service, export destinations hit 129 last year, higher than the 95 countries it imports makeup from. This is also the first time cosmetic exports exceeded USD 1 bn.

Korean-made cosmetic products were exported to 129 countries in 2014, compared with 87 countries in 2004, and over the decade, the cost per kilogram also nearly doubled to $22.88.

Toners, moisturizers and essences took the largest proportion of cosmetic exports, which accounted for more than 49% of total exports.

Key destinations included China, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and Southeast Asian countries. China is Korea’s largest export destination for its cosmetics. Korea’s cosmetics exports to China alone hit USD 261.3 m in 2013.

The stimulus behind the growth in exports appears to be twofold: the number of countries importing South Korean beauty goods is increasing, while the price of the individual products is also on the rise.

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