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Korea’s Beauty Tech Startups Thrive As Traditional Industry Stumbles
Four seasoned Korean startups pitched their to the China market this week in Shanghai museum after a three-month long acceleration program in China. All of them had a common feature that might just give them the edge in a tough economy.
While Korea’s 13 top export items like cars, chemicals and steel have seen a decline with slowing Asian markets, one industry is making double-digit growth in shipments – cosmetics.
Korean President Park Geun Hye has called for more efforts to boost the sales of consumer goods like cosmetics and clothing to China, and startups are poised to take advantage of the demand.
“The Korean cosmetic business is now hot in China, and we intentionally chose beauty and fashion related startups for this batch,” said Eliot Shin, CEO of NEOPLY China, an accelerator focussed on helping Korean startups thrive in the Chinese market.
The demoday was hosted by Venture Port and NEOPLY China, arranged by Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development (KISED) with participation of Chinese accelerator 23Seed. NEOPLY China had hosted GSIIP Demoday this January in Shanghai. The accelerator looks to add another seven Korean startups, for a bigger demoday in December.
Here are some of the top beauty startups from this year’s 2015 Global Expansion Program.
Consumers are given control over the ingredients applied on their skin with Biostandard’s organic customizable DIY skincare kit. Biostandard uses the ceravine.com website to sell their DIY kit and shares DIY cosmetic making Youku videos on WeChat. Comprised of experts in oriental medicine, dental, legal, and business, the team are the creators of Dermashell an organic protein-based skin product. Currently, the company exports their own brand, “Ceravine” products to Hong Kong and Mobicon Group’s cosmetic shop Wishh! store.
ControlClother is a fashion designer agency that incubates aspiring designers to launch their brand, and distributes their clothes at home and abroad. The company recruits 15 new designers a year, then selects only one designer to open his or her brand. Founded in 2013, 300 design companies in Korea and 17 freelancer designers are now registered on the website. The company provides a platform where designers can present their portfolios, and customers can choose and order to make a customized outfit for his/her own. On January 2014, Control Clother opened offline mall in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenyang, and now it is moving into online eCommerce.
Membersheep is a B2B solution for brand companies to expand to China and Asian markets by helping them with the whole production process, from linking to wholesale dealers and retailers to distribution. In China’s online marketplaces, imported products, clothing, cosmetics, and milk powder are on top of the list. The company provides a channel strategy for overseas brands, by sharing data with reliable distribution companies like Japan’s Rakuten and South East Asia’s Lazada. According to the company, they launched 50 brands in Korea, Taiwan and South East Asia, seeing 170% growth since their service launching in 2014.
Evosonic introduces sound rhythmic massage for scalp and hair scaling. The massager supposedly has 10 times the cleansing effect of shampooing by hand according to the company. A user can apply shampoo to the massager and wash the hair. The massager cleanses deeply and promotes blood circulation. The product has been quality certified by the Korean Skin Clinical Research Center.
Image Credit: TechNode