Korean products, from cosmetics to clothes, are in great demand in China — actually Korean stuff, from TV dramas to stars have been hot in China.

LOTTE, the Korean retail giant that runs duty free shops, department stores and an online shopping site, finds Chinese the largest group of its online shoppers out of the total from 19 countries.

While now bricks-and-mortar shops in South Korea are friendly with Chinese consumers that support Chinese bank cards, purchasing Korean goods in China isn’t so convenient as Chinese users hope for. Very few of popular Korean brands have bricks-and-mortar stores in China, so many Chinese turn to Taobao stores or other online retailers who resell goods purchased from South Korea at much higher prices. Also there’s no guarantee of genuineness.

Alipay, the leading online payments service in China, announced today that it has supported LOTTE’s website with its cross-border payments solution.

Some other Korean online retailers saw the business opportunities long ago. Gmarket, eBay’s property in South Korea and one of the most popular online shopping sites in the country, entered Chinese market as early as in 2010 with the launch of a Chinese version. In 2012 the site set up a sub-site under Chinese online fashion retailer Xiu.com. But Gmarket isn’t so popular as the Korean trends do in China.

And more are eyeing the China market. Memebox is the rising star in South Korea’s online cosmetics retail sector. The startup began from selling boxes of curated full sized cosmetics products or samples to monthly subscribers. Now its site also sells individual cosmetics items. It’s funded by SparkLabs, a Seoul-based accelerator, and then managed to get enrolled in Y Combinator. The startup has tapped into Southeastern countries including Japan and Thailand. They are looking at the China market, according to people close to Memebox.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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