China was the biggest consumer of South Korean cosmetic products in 2020 with $3.8 billion, followed by Hong Kong with $714 million and the United States with $640 million, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Japan stood fourth with $639 million, followed by Vietnam with $263 million.
South Korea's total imports of cosmetics stood at $1.17 billion in 2020. France was the biggest exporter with $366 million the United States was second with $279 million. Japan was third with 119 million.
Despite a global lockdown caused by a COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of South Korean cosmetics products, dubbed K-beauty, has been growing. In January 2021, the government unveiled a new national strategy to cultivate the cosmetics industry through customized government support so that it can become a global brand. K-beauty color makeup including eye shadows and lipsticks has extended its reach to overseas markets.
For technology innovation, the government would help establish a platform that can collect and utilize skin characteristics and genomic information by country and race to expand global sales while supporting the localization of basic materials and the development of eco-friendly raw materials using domestic biological resources.