Korean Cosmetics Brand Sulwhasoo Opens First Counter In Beijing, With More To Come
Last week, Korean cosmetics brand Sulwhasoo opened its first make-up counter in China at Beijing’s Parkson Department store. With the goal of becoming one of Asia’s top premium brands, Sulwhasoo parent company Amore Pacific plans to expand rapidly in China, with a second Sulwhasoo shop set to open next month at Beijing’s Shin Kong Place and a further seven or eight more expected to launch shortly at luxury department stores in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin.
Jing Daily previously reported on Amore Pacific and its part in the “Korean Wave” that has brought a flood of high-end cosmetics into China, initially via the company’s budget-friendly Mamonde line and premium Laneige brand. With the launch of its high-end line, Sulwhasoo, Amore Pacific looks to capture a larger piece of the growing cosmetics market in China. While it will be difficult for Amore Pacific to compete against the likes of larger global companies such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Shiseido, Ahn Ha-young, an analyst at Hanwha Securities in Seoul, told FT that she is “optimistic that Amore Pacific does have a differentiating factor in using cosmetics based on oriental medicine.”
Additionally, Lee Sun-guen, Amore Pacific’s manager for international sales, told FT that Amore Pacific “has approached China as a larger version of its domestic market,” including winning permission for door-to-door sales in Shanghai, a segment that accounts for 30 percent of the company’s revenue in Korea. While pursuing the market in similar ways, Lee Sun-guen does note significant consumer differences between China and South Korea, commenting that celebrity branding counts for less in China because while “Koreans are emotional consumers, the Chinese are more practical, prioritizing scientific and dermatological testing.”
Sulwhasoo’s first store opening was held on March 22 and attended by Chinese celebrities such as Yun Zhou (周韵), as well as Amore Pacific representatives including Jae-cheon Yoo, executive vice president of Amore Pacific China. Prior to the official debut, Sulwhasoo invited consumers and media to experience the Sulwhasoo SPA treatment and test out Sulwhasoo products for the first time.
In addition to the company’s mainland China expansion efforts, Amore Pacific plans to take its Sulwhasoo line to Taiwan, Singapore and other major Asian markets before the end of the year.