Cosmetics, food exports to Asia double in 3 years

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - The popularity of cosmetic products and food made in Korea is growing in Asian countries.

Exports of such products to China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia more than doubled during the past three years, according to the Korea Customs Service on Thursday.

Cosmetics exports increased from about $216.73 million in 2008 to $485.11 million in 2011, and is expected to surpass $561 million this year, which would be a jump by 16 percent compared to last year. Exports to the five Southeast Asian countries - excluding China and Japan - showed a significant increase in particular, from $28.66 million in 2008 to $128.53 million in 2011.

Food and beverages shipped to the Asian nations also increased from $197.83 million in 2008 to $428.77 million in 2011. It is expected to reach about $455.9 million this year.

The growth of the emerging economies as well as the impact of the K-pop led "hallyu," or Korean Wave, triggered the hike, experts said. While the developed Western nations wavered, threatened by the euro crisis, emerging markets in Asia started to expand.

"Consumers in the emerging Asian nations are opening their eyes to goods made in Korea. They are spending more on products of good quality and reasonable price," Hwang Seong-taek, head of Trust Asset Management, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News.

Cosmetic goods and food-related shares also rising.

The stock price of Able C&C, the company owning the popular low-priced cosmetics brand Missha, skyrocketed by over 249 percent this year. That of the cosmetics material supplier Cosmax also jumped by 209.87 percent.

Share prices of Orion, the nation's second-largest confectionery company, increased by 51.03 percent this year, and that of Binggrae, another major confectioner here, by 98.82 percent.

"Stocks that have been showing the strongest upward trend lately are ones related to the consumption trend of the emerging Asian economies," said Lim Soo-kyun, a researcher at Samsung Securities.

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