SEOUL — Seoul will roll out its five-year plan to secure its presence in the global fashion and beauty market with a 204 billion won ($167.9 million) project. More jobs and businesses related to beauty and fashion will be created and various business benefits including tax benefits, loans and incentives will be provided.
Seoul is home to four world-class beauty product manufacturers: LG Household, Amore Pacific, Able C&C and Clio Cosmetics. The capital also has cosmetic startups targeting the North American market and China. In 2018, South Korea’s famous online beauty and fashion shopping mall called “Stylenanda” was acquired by L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company. Stylenanda’s makeup brand, 3CE, is one of the most popular brands among Chinese tourists.
K-beauty color makeup, including eye shadow and lipstick, is sold worldwide. Despite a global lockdown caused by a coronavirus pandemic, South Korean cosmetics exports reached a record $9.2 billion in 2021, up 21.5% from a year ago. Data released by South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce showed that cosmetics exports to the United States were up 14.9% from a year ago. In 2020, the United States imported approximately $536 million worth of K-beauty products. Vietnam’s K-beauty market stood at $273 million in 2020, up 17.6% year-on-year. However, Seoul said most beauty companies are small, and overseas beauty markets like China are becoming increasingly competitive.
Seoul said in a statement on April 5 that funds worth more than 100 billion won will be invested in small and medium-sized enterprises and startups in the fashion and beauty industry starting in 2023. through a government agency, Seoul will support 50 influencers. every year to promote K-beauty products and some 200 experts including brand managers. Seoul will also provide various benefits, including tax breaks, to the Dongdaemun district, the center of fashion and tourism in South Korea. Dongdaemun is the country’s largest wholesale clothing market complex with around 30,000 stores visited by some 150,000 people every day. Although the district has many historic sites and old buildings, Seoul will ease building regulations for fashion brand operators. A special development zone for the beauty and fashion convergence project will be established in Dongdaemun.
The number of unlisted unicorn companies in the beauty and fashion sector is expected to reach 12 by 2025 from 8 currently. A unicorn refers to a company or startup with an enterprise value between 100 billion and 1 trillion won. The number of related jobs will increase from around 60,000 in 2021 to around 100,000 in 2025.
“We will improve Seoul’s beauty and fashion ecosystem and establish a virtuous cycle system with other areas by converting them into tourism resources,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said.
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