Chinese brands gain popularity in South Korea

Updated 2017-09-21 10:01:06 Global Times

Despite the tension between China and South Korea caused by the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Chinese companies such as Tsingtao Beer and Xiaomi have still gained growth momentum in South Korea.

"Tsingtao Beer is quite popular among South Korean consumers, not only sold in supermarkets but also ubiquitous in restaurants," a Chinese surnamed Xue who has been working in South Korea for two years told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The brand entered the South Korean market a decade ago and has already gained a firm stake in the local market, "so it's impossible to boycott the Chinese beer," remarked Xue.

Tsingtao Beer has become the main target of a boycott movement by South Korean people against Chinese products since early March this year, according to South Korean news site Business Korea.

E-Mart, South Korea's largest discount chain, said sales of Tsingtao Beer surged 28.8 percent for the first eight months in 2017 from a year earlier, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday. Tsingtao emerged as the fourth-largest imported beer brand during the period.

South Korea's imports of beer from China have been on the rise in recent years, with the figure surging more than seven times to 36,159 tons, the Yonhap news report said. Tsingtao Beer accounted for most of the imported Chinese beer, according to the report.

Xiaomi is another Chinese brand that has gained momentum in South Korea for its high quality and low price, especially the company's charge pal and bracelet, according to Xue.

From January to June this year, South Korea's imports from China were about .71 billion, an increase of 14.7 percent. The top three items were mechanical and electrical products, base metals and other products such as chemical products, according to a report on the website of China's Ministry of Commerce in August.

The trade surplus scale has been forecast to narrow, as the Chinese government has strengthened restrictions on trade for processing products and there has been an expansion of South Korean companies' localization in China, South Korea's Hankook Ilbo daily newspaper reported on August 4.

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