‘K Beauty’ Aiming for the Middle East | Be Korea-savvy

‘K Beauty’ Aiming for the Middle East

Korean cosmetics brands are making a push to enter the Middle-Eastern market. (Image : Yonhap)

Korean cosmetics brands are making a push to enter the Middle-Eastern market. (Image : Yonhap)

SEOUL, Dec.22 (Korea Bizwire)Korean cosmetics brands are making a push to enter the Middle-Eastern market.

Korean companies are focused on the fact that even though Middle-Eastern women seem to be far from makeup as they typically wear a hijab, they have an urge to express themselves through eye makeup, and have a high interest in Korean beauty products.

According to officials from Tonymoly, the company is planning to open its first and second stores in the Middle East in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by the end of the month. To execute its plan, Tonymoly signed an MOU with DARABIAN, a Saudi Arabian distribution company.

Tonymoly will open 50 stores in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain by 2018.

Officials from Tonymoly commented that the signing of the MOU will accelerate the company’s entry into the Middle-Eastern Market. Previous attempts to make a move in the market were bogged down by regulations and red tape.

The Face Shop, an LG Household & Health Care brand, currently operates 30 stores in four Middle-Eastern countries. The company opened its first Middle-Eastern stores in Jordan in 2006 and in the UAE in 2007, and saw sales of $4 million in the region last year.

LG Household & Health Care is planning to expand its business into nearby countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain, and enter the Turkish market, which will be the key to entering North Africa and Europe.

Amore Pacific also plans to enter the Middle-Eastern market starting with Dubai next year.

For religious reasons, Muslim women in the Middle East usually cover themselves up with a hijab or chador. But that doesn’t mean that they have less interest in beauty.

Based on statistics from 2011, average expenditures on cosmetics reached $334 a month for women in Dubai, which is the highest in the world. Other statistics show that the annual growth rate of the cosmetics industry is as high as 20 percent.

The effect of the ‘Korean wave’, which is growing in Middle-Eastern countries, has also increased interest in Korean cosmetics.

Industry watchers explain that since Middle-Eastern women have limitations in their ability to express themselves due to the restrictions on clothing, the urge to express oneself is shown through makeup. “This is the reason that Korean companies are seeing the Middle East as their next target after China.”

By Francine Jung (francine.jung@kobizmedia.co.kr)

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