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8 in 10 retail firms to open new stores abroad in 2014

December 11, 2013
Chinese shoppers gather for the opening of the Gongyixiqiao branch of South Korea's discount retailer Lotte Mart in Beijing, China (EPA/Yonhap)

Chinese shoppers gather for the opening of the Gongyixiqiao branch of South Korea’s discount retailer Lotte Mart in Beijing, China (EPA/Yonhap)

By Park Ji-won

More than 80 percent of Korean retail companies plan to expand their overseas operations next year, mainly in China and South East Asia, a survey showed Wednesday.

In a survey of 62 retail companies, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) found that 82.3 percent of them will launch new branches overseas next year. They include major supermarkets, department stores, home shopping firms, online malls, and cosmetics and drug stores

“The retail firms seem to have high expectations on expanding their share in developing countries,” Lee Young-joon a director at the KCCI said.

Fifty-three percent chose China as “the most promising country of 2014,” while 37 percent and 35 percent picked Vietnam and Indonesia, respectively.

“The rising awareness of Korean firms’ products is likely to lead to the success of those firms’ business in overseas countries,” KCCI manager MJ Hwang said.

The survey showed that the retail firms are expected to see a 40-percent growth in 2013 from a year ago.

Some 26.2 percent of small- and medium-sized firms said “condition for overseas expansion” got much better this year, while 30 percent of big firms said it was aggravated.

“Korean firms must expand their market overseas amid sluggish domestic growth,” senior executive director Kim Kyung-jong at the Institute of distribution and Logistics of the KCCI said in a statement.

“Different strategies such as making unique products and services could be the answer to surviving fierce competition overseas.”

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