Many feel that South Korea’s potential is tied to technology. Look at their big companies like Samsung and LG. However, South Korea’s true potential especially in Asia is in the fashion/beauty sectors. K-Pop, K-Dramas, and the overall “Korean Wave” take a huge part in the content business as well as marketing. Asia loves the Korean brand in regards to fashion/beauty. Technology will always go to China/India because of their size and man power. Korea has something that many Asian countries can’t duplicate.
Many feel that Korean startups are all about technology, content, and design. Investments in O2O and Fintech has always been strong. However, one untapped sector has been the fashion and beauty industry. Once Korean fashion and beauty got a boost globally thanks to K-Pop stars like CL and G-Dragon, there was a serious rise in demand for K-Beauty. One startup that capitalized on this in a big way was Memebox who were able to raise $30 million in funding. Funding rounds for K-Beauty startups have been on the rise, ever since yet from a global standpoint, they have not fully taken off.
The beauty sector in Korea has become a lot more personal and accessible. This is why many people all across Asia come to Korea to see the latest in Korean fashion and beauty products. K-Pop, as well as K-Drama, have helped drive the market for K-Beauty. There are millions of K-Pop/K-Drama fans all over the world. More importantly, the target young future consumers who will dominate the market in the next decade.
The South Korean government has started to support the “Korean Wave” called Hallyu and has started to look at it more as a commodity. This could be the gateway for South Korea to enter foreign markets. Just like how America used Hollywood as a form of “soft invasion”, Korea will use Hallyu in the same way. Hallyu got so big because the internet helped spread Korean culture all over the world. The Korean government subsidized internet access throughout the country. Now thanks to K-Pop and K-Dramas there is a very high demand for the Hallyu brand, Korean startups in the Fashion and Beauty sectors should see their biggest year yet.