Korean brands ride the wave to Singapore

Korean brands ride the wave to Singapore
Korean brand Etude House has grown its retail outlets here from two in 2009 to 18. Its newest store opened at Bedok Mall last Friday.

SINGAPORE - The Korean wave, or hallyu, has hit our tiny island. But it is not just teenyboppers who have been washed over by its allure.

From cosmetics fronted by Korean heart-throbs to kimchi to mobile phones, South Korean products have been popping up across Singapore in recent years and have become increasingly popular.

Etude House, for instance, has grown its line of retail outlets here from just two in 2009 to 18. Its newest store opened at Bedok Mall on Friday.

A spokesman for Amorepacific Group, which manages the brand, said Etude House's turnover at its Singapore outlets has been increasing each year, and that it has the Korean wave to thank.

Many Singaporeans chose the brand due to their strong interest in South Korean drama, music and beauty trends, she said.

Public relations executive Ronda Lim, 23, believes that South Korean beauty products are affordable and more suitable for Asian skin, compared to Western cosmetic products.

An avid user of South Korean cosmetic brands Etude House and Laneige, Ms Lim is also on the lookout for other South Korean beauty brands. "I am often tempted by new Korean products," she said, adding that she wants to see how effective they are.

Shoppers are also greeted by an assortment of South Korean food products at supermarkets.

FairPrice and Giant have said that they have increased their stock of South Korean food products, recognising the growing popularity of South Korean cuisine and pop culture.

From having only 200 types of made-in-Korea products in its stores in 2008, FairPrice now has over 400 types, ranging from CJ steamed dumplings to Korean Miyamoto mandarin oranges. Some outlets even have shelves dedicated to South Korean products.

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