SEOUL: AmorePacific Corp, a leading South Korean cosmetics firm, is forging ahead with the opening of new outlets in Malaysia at a time when most companies are scaling back and abandoning expansion plans due to the less than rosy economic outlook.
The company, listed in 2006, has few reservations about moving ahead to create a greater presence of its brands in Malaysia.
AmorePacific Malaysia general manager Margaret Chin said four of the 31 brands under AmorePacific were already in Malaysia. The company has a stable of international beauty brands, among them Laneige and Sulwhasoo.
“Laneige was the first to be launched here in 2006, followed by Etude in 2008.
“In May 2013, we welcomed our premium brand Sulwhasoo and innisfree to popular acclaim last December,” she said.
According to Chin, Laneige would be opening a new counter at Parkson Aman Central in Alor Star early October and two more stores at the Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and VivaCity Megamall in Kuching by year-end, bringing to a total of 29 counters and four stores.
“With bestsellers like the BB Cushion and Water Sleeping Mask, Laneige has consistently occupied the Top 10 spot in the national ranking among beauty brands.
“This is despite it having fewer outlets compared to other brands with a longer history in Malaysia.
“In terms of our performance within Asean, sales of Laneige in Malaysia are catching up with Singapore,” Chin said.
Chin added that a fifth Sulwhasoo counter would open at Isetan Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur, in March 2016.
“As for innisfree, sales figures have surpassed predictions by as much as 200% in the last eight months.
“Encouraged by this, fans of innisfree will soon get to shop for their favourite skincare at the Paradigm Mall and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur besides its flagship store at Sunway Pyramid,” she said.
Chin further revealed that other lines for mass consumers such as the O’Sulloc supplement drink would be making their way onto shelves of local departmental stores and pharmacies in six months time from now.
AmorePacific, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, dates back to a small store selling high-quality camellia oil made by Yun Dok-jeong, the mother of company founder Suh Sung-whan, in 1932.
Yun’s legacy of Asian beauty was continued by her son through the establishment of Pacific Chemical in 1945.
Pacific Chemical, which was eventually renamed AmorePacific, has recorded many firsts in South Korean beauty history, for example, the launching of South Korea’s first plant-derived pomade – the ABC Pomade, in 1951, the setting up of the country’s first cosmetics research and development laboratory in 1954, and being the first cosmetics company to export its products overseas in 1964.
In 1966, it launched the ABC Ginseng Cream, the world’s first herbal medicine cosmetic product, which also marks the beginning of the present Sulwhasoo brand.
In more recent years, AmorePacific became the first company in South Korea to reach 1 trillion won (RM3.68bil) sales in the beauty market in 2002, followed by the launch of the world’s first Cushion product – the Iope Air Cushion, and henceforth, creating a new product in the global beauty industry in 2008.
Two years later, it became the first Korean beauty company to join the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Today, led by third generation heir to the beauty empire, Suh Kyung-bae, AmorePacific is still South Korea’s number one beauty company after 70 years with generated sales of 4,711.9 billion won last year, marking a 21% year-on-year growth, despite the sluggish economy at home and abroad.
Of the figure, 17.6% comes from overseas sales, namely China (464.9 billion won), Asia (excluding China, 265.1 billion won), Europe (64 billion won) and North America (34.9 billion won).
Speaking during the company’s 70th anniversary celebration in Seoul earlier this month, Kyung-bae told world media representatives that AmorePacific would be moving beyond South Korea and Asia after this.
“We will be expanding our resources to change the world through beauty.
“But rather than push our products to customers, we believe in studying what our customers want.
“Apart from research, we listen to feedback from our customers. Claim reports filed by customers are very important to us and are reviewed each week,” he said.
“At AmorePacific, our working philosophy is not to say something is not working because of something. We say something is working despite of something,” he added.
AmorePacific currently has 13,000 employees worldwide and 500 researchers in South Korea, China, France, the United States, Japan and Singapore.
Last year alone, it had registered 200 patents and submitted 548 patent applications.