S'pore: Korean make-up giant's springboard

S'pore: Korean make-up giant's springboard
CEO Suh Kyung-Bae

SINGAPORE - Singapore is a key pit stop in South Korean cosmetics powerhouse AmorePacific's campaign to break the stranglehold Western companies have on popular skincare and make-up brands, CEO Suh Kyung-Bae says.

Singapore is AmorePacific's Asia-Pacific headquarters for the company, which wants to groom 10 global "mega-brands" out of its current stable of over 20 to compete head-on in the international market.

Even the less initiated should recognise some of AmorePacific's brands that have infiltrated the malls on Orchard Road: Laneige, the bubble-gum pink Etude, and, more recently, the luxe skincare line Sulwhasoo.

"To AmorePacific, Singapore is the window to this part of the world. The Asean office covers Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia currently and will expand it to Australia next year," AmorePacific CEO Suh Kyung-Bae told BT.

"We are very excited about Thailand - the biggest consumer market in South-east Asia with high growth potential and interest in make-up."

And Mr Suh's next brand up his sleeve is Mamonde, which he said has gained popularity among Chinese customers.

"In an industry traditionally dominated by European brands, we believe that it is time for an Asian beauty company such as ours to rise," Mr Suh said.

"AmorePacific has been showing increasing attention to the development of safe ingredients amid the growing popularity and interest in Asian beauty, and our company has been gaining the spotlight."

Singapore's research capabilities housed at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and wider talent pool have anchored the city-state in a special spot for the company.

The company has collaborated with researcher Bruno Reversade of the Institute of Medical Biology at A*Star after coming across in Nature Genetics his discovery of the PYCR1 genen mutation, responsible for a rare disease causing premature ageing.

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