SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — The boycott movement against Japan within South Korea, sparked by export restrictions imposed last month by Shinzo Abe’s government, has even spread to Japanese brand cigarettes.
The number of cigarettes imported to South Korea from the Philippines came to 403 tons last month, down 31.9 tons or 7.3 percent from 434.9 tons the previous month, according to the Korea Customs Service’s export and trade statistics Tuesday.
The Philippines is home to the production base of Japan-based tobacco company Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which sells the Mevius and Camel brands.
Among KT&G Corp., Philip Morris International Inc., British American Tobacco plc and JTI, the top four tobacco players in the Korean market, only JTI has factories in the Philippines.
Therefore, cigarettes imported from the Philippines can be considered to be the production of JTI, except in cases where individuals bring in small quantities of cigarettes sold in the Philippines.
The fall in cigarette imports from the Philippines in July is an unusual, unprecedented trend, and industry sources are weighing the impact of the boycott on Japanese goods.
In fact, over the past two years, Philippine tobacco imports have increased from June to July, and declined only this year.
In addition, JTI Korea abruptly postponed its planned launch of a new electronic tobacco product on July 11, citing “internal circumstances.“
Some analysts suggested that the postponed launch was affected by the boycott against Japanese products, fueled by Japan’s retaliatory measures.
JTI’s retail market share supports this interpretation.
According to industry sources, JTI’s market share in the retail market fell to 9 percent last month, dropping to single digits, from around 10 percent in June.
D. M. Park (email@example.com)