SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Hitejinro is making inroads in the Southeast Asian market, starting with Thailand, by localizing Korea’s most popular drink, ‘soju’ (distilled rice liquor).
Recently, Hitejinro’s ‘Chamisul’, ‘Chamisul Classic’, ‘Jinro 24′ and ‘Jamong-e-isul’ (Grapefruit Soju) have been launched in Thailand.
Unlike Koreans, who usually drink Soju straight with a small shot glass, young people in Thailand who like softer liquor often mix Soju with other beverages and drink it in the form of cocktails. Hitejinro is pushing into the local market by advertising Soju as itself instead of introducing it as the ‘Korean vodka’.
Soju can be enjoyed as a cocktail, but is much cheaper than vodka or whisky, which is a factor that is appealing to young Thais.
Another promising aspect that could help to boost the liquor’s status in Southeast Asian countries is the popularity of Hallyu (Korean wave) TV dramas in the region. The ubiquitous green Soju bottle is already familiar to locals, as it makes frequent appearances in dramas.
Hitejinro is currently partnering with BoonRawd, an influential beer company in Thailand. BoonRawd is the company that manufactures the ‘Singha’ and ‘Leo’ beers. It also runs 50 different businesses in food and distribution. By creating a successful business model in Thailand with BoonRawd, Hitejinro plans to expand into nearby regions based on a similar model.
In the Philippines, 200 stores have been selling ‘Chamisul’ since 2012 through an agreement that was signed with a local convenience store.
In addition, Hitejinro is targeting niche markets in Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, promoting its products through localized commercials and participating in local festivals.
Hitejinro aims to double its exports to the Southeast Asian Market in 2017, which currently stand at approximately $20 million.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)