At a pan-government conference on the nation’s exports earlier this month, the cosmetics industry was particularly in focus, with discussion centering on how to boost the number of organisations that can apply for government accreditation.
Last year the country’s cosmetics industry registered exports of USD 2.6 billion; by 2018, the government hopes to see this reach USD 7 billion.
The plan is to achieve this in part by broadening the group of organisations that can apply for government accreditation - at present only cosmetics brands can do this, and under the new measures, universities, research organisations and cosmetics producers will all be able to.
The hope is that this will open up research and development to growth, and incentivise innovation further. Other planned measures to boost cosmetics exports include government support for brands looking to enter China, R&D tax credits for local pharmaceuticals innovation, and closer collaboration with trading nations.
Home and abroad
According to the Korea Customs Service, Korea’s cosmetics exports last year were at their highest ever level, and well above the USD 1.56 billion of imported beauty.
The market and its exports are seeing global reach: Iran recently signed an agreement with Korea to abolish the need for on-site inspections for Iran-bound exports to facilitate trade, and France, as the top EU importer for K-beaty, is emerging as a key trading partner.
But it is within the Asia region itself where K-beauty has so far had the most impact, with Korea Customs Service figures noting that exports of cosmetics amounted to USD 88 million, 63 million and 57 million for Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam respectively in 2015.
Leading by example
Korea’s impact onto its neighbouring nations isn’t just being seen through the rising export levels: earlier this year, officials from various of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) made a visit to Korea in a bid to learn more about its beauty industry success from a domestic production standpoint.
The delegation was made up of 18 government members from nine of the ASEAN member countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Key features of the delegation included visits to various sites belonging to major players in Korea’s cosmetics scene, including AmorePacific, LG Household and Healthcare, and Coreana, and a workshop on bilateral technological cooperation.