SEOUL, July 3 (Korea Bizwire) — The ‘No Japan’ boycott movement against Japanese products that broke out last July after Japan imposed export restrictions on South Korea has had a serious impact on last year’s imported beer market.
The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. reported Thursday that the retail market for beer in the fourth quarter of last year amounted to 693.2 billion won (US$577 million).
Asahi, the Japanese brewer that once dominated South Korea’s imported beer market, reported 2.2 billion won in sales, far short of the 45.8 billion won recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Asahi’s downfall in the South Korean market has benefitted other imported brands, such as Tsingtao, a Chinese beer brand that has become the fourth largest seller in the entire South Korean beer market and the top seller among imported beer brands.
Stella Artois, a Belgian beer brand, became one of the top 10 beer brands in the fourth quarter last year.
The boycott movement against Japanese products continues to be proven effective as beer imports from Japan in May amounted to a mere US$772,000, one-seventh of the $5.9 million reported exactly one year ago.
In response, Japanese beer importers are concentrating their efforts to survive.
Last year, Lotte Asahi Liquor Co., the Korean importer of Asahi beer, began lay-offs by choosing not to extend contract workers whose employment expired in December.
M’s Beverage, importer of the Sapporo and Ebisu brands, has placed employees on unpaid leave.
“As the ‘No Japan’ movement continues, extension of unpaid leave has become inevitable, and we’ve been running the company only four days a week,” said a source from a Japanese beer importer.
“There are no signs of recovery, so employees are voluntarily leaving the company.”
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)