SEOUL, Mar. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Hotel Shilla Co., an affiliate of South Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group, said Tuesday it plans to open a duty-free shop in downtown Bangkok, speeding up efforts to expand its overseas presence.
The company said the duty-free shop, which will open within this year, comes after Hotel Shilla first established a joint venture named GMS Duty Free with a Thai firm in 2013, where the South Korean retailer holds a 25-percent stake.
Hotel Shilla said it has not decided on the opening date for the new shop, as downtown duty-free stores call for more complicated procedures compared to those at airports.
Industry watchers said the new duty-free shop will market various South Korean cosmetics brands, following the “hallyu” wave in many Asian countries. Hallyu or the Korean Wave refers to the boom of South Korea-made entertainment goods, including pop music, movies and TV dramas.
Hotel Shilla added that its duty-free shop at Singapore Changi Airport will also post improved earnings starting in 2016. The duty-free shop posted an operating loss of 60.1 billion won (US$48.6 million) last year, worsening from 39.2 billion won reported in 2014.
An official source from the company said the weaker-than-expected returns from the Singapore-based shop are attributable to the falling number of visitors traveling to Southeast Asia after a Malaysia Airlines B777 passenger plane went missing in 2014.