SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's trade surplus in beauty products hit an all-time high last year on the back of strong demand from China and other Asian countries, government data showed Tuesday.
Outbound shipments of cosmetics stood at 6.89 trillion won last year, up 23.3 percent on-year, while imports grew 6.8 percent to 1.42 trillion won, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Consequently, the country posted a surplus of 5.47 trillion won (US$4.56 billion) in the trade of beauty products, they showed.
The annual trade surplus represents a 28.4 percent increase from 4.26 trillion won tallied in the previous year, with Asia's fourth-largest economy maintaining a favorable trade balance in this sector for five years in a row, according to the ministry.
By country, China was the largest market for Korean beauty products, with exports of such goods hitting 2.92 trillion won, up 37.5 percent from a year earlier.
Hong Kong, the United States and Japan were also main export destinations for such goods. Shipments to emerging markets, such as Indonesia and Kazakhstan, soared 111 percent and 91 percent, respectively, in 2018 vis-a-vis the year before.
The ministry attributed price competitiveness and consumer confidence in the quality of products made in South Korea to the stellar performance.
Also, the popularity of the Korean Wave, or "hallyu," is contributing to overseas consumers purchasing Korean-made beauty products. Hallyu refers to the popularity of TV shows and music that have secured hordes of fans in Asia, Europe and the American continent.
By company, AmorePacific Corp., the country's No. 1 cosmetics marker, shipped 4.55 trillion won worth of goods in the one-year period, followed by LG Household & Health Care and Aekyung Industry Co.
South Koreans brought in 401 billion won worth of makeup from France, with the U.S., Japan, Thailand and Italy making up the top five countries that shipped their beauty products here.
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