Hallyu herald: Shopee Korea scores $3m government project to bring K-beauty to Poland

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Shopee has inked a deal with KOSME to facilitate the entry of Korean products to Poland. [Getty Images]
Shopee has inked a deal with KOSME to facilitate the entry of Korean products to Poland. [Getty Images]

Related tags K-Beauty Korea Europe cross-border e-commerce

The South Korean arm of South East Asian e-commerce platform Shopee has inked a deal with the Korean SMEs and Startups Agency (KOSME) to form a logistics service to facilitate the entry of Korean products to Poland.

Shopee is an e-commerce company headquartered in Singapore that operates primarily in SEA and Taiwan. The company has been scaling up global operations with new market entries including Brazil, South Korea and Poland.

Recently, Shopee Korea announced that had won a KOSME project which is expected to draw in over 500 SMEs. According to the firm, the total project will be worth over KRW3.7bn (U$3m), the largest project ever struck with KOSME.

This project would enable SMEs to reach Poland, which has a fast-growing e-commerce market. It grew more than 20% in 2020 alone and is expected to be worth U$22.7bn by 2025, said Shopee Korea.

According to global research firm Gemius, interest in cross-border purchase is high, as non-face-to-face consumption habits and online transactions have spread due to COVID-19, and about one-third of online consumers responded that they buy directly from overseas.

Growing alongside the e-commerce market is the demand for Korean products. According to Shopee Korea, the K-wave is rapidly growing in Poland.

Polish consumers are increasingly seeking out K-pop merchandise, Korean appliances, and cosmetic products.

In fact, Shopee Korea said the enthusiasm for K-beauty gaining so much traction that it is common to see separate K-beauty section in local cosmetics stores.

The demand for K-beauty has also been spurred on by Korean beauty YouTubers that are gaining popularity.

The project consists of two programmes covering export services and content marketing.

Korea’s cosmetic SMEs reported biggest growth in exports​ in the past decade, making cosmetics second-largest SME export in 2021.

‘Cornerstone’ to European expansion

Shopee Korea said it expects the opening of the service to be the ‘cornerstone’ of its entry into the European market.

To mark the beginning of this project, it will be offering a three-month fee exemption to sellers who meet the product registration standards.

Furthermore, the company said it would support not only compensation for returned products but also offer one-stop services such as local language translation and marketing.

At the same time, Shopee Poland will provide its sellers with an avenue to enter new markets in SEA beginning with Singapore.

New markets for K-beauty

The Korean cosmetic industry is predicted to grow in the second quarter​ this year despite the economic uncertainty, according to a report by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

According to this report, cosmetics exports scored a BSI of 123, making it the sector that was viewed as the most favourably, ahead of others like electronics, pharmaceuticals, and home appliances.

Despite the pervasiveness of K-beauty global, Korean cosmetic firms still have untapped opportunities in markets like Poland.

Another report by the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) highlighted untapped opportunities for K-beauty in Laos,​ particularly for skin care.

According to statistics from the Korean International Trade Association (KITA), Korea’s cosmetic exports to Laos only amounted to U$200,000. However, it shot up to U$6.2m in 2021, recording an average annual growth rate of 107.3%.

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