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Industry Insight: Korea's home-shopping industry seeking to become global No.1 Updated: 2015-02-09 22:00:04 KST

This thread and textile company, founded half a century ago, was once facing a crisis.
It was battling cheap Chinese imports, while struggling to find a new retail outlet.
But now, it has transformed itself into a fast-fashion producer and its products are sold on two major TV home-shopping channels.
Its television sales are more than 10 times what it's raised through offline sales.

"We are a traditional manufacturing company and couldn't afford all the marketing expenses needed to advertise our products. So we ventured on to home shopping channels that helped us gain wide recognition in a short period of time."

Many small and mid-sized companies like this have turned their products into household names through home-shopping channels.
There have been many changes in the past two decades since home-shopping channels first launched in Korea.
The channels now offer practically everything under the sun and the format has also evolved over time.

"Korea's home-shopping industry has created a unique business model.
Unlike the kinds of short infomercials you might see in other countries, Korean home-shopping channels manage to keep viewers watching their shows for a full hour by making them entertaining."

It's not just celebrities advertising the products, but ordinary people testing them with industry professionals.
Korea's home-shopping format of featuring a single product has also captured viewers overseas, especially in Asia.
Four Korean channels, mostly run by large conglomerates, have entered 10 countries over the past decade.
And this leading channel is now seeking to expand its sales overseas to become the world's number-1 home-shopping distributor by 2020.

"We've reduced the risks by entering the market through joint ventures and we established an international outsourcing company to customize our product line. We also focus on introducing Korean products by smaller companies, because it is harder for them to enter foreign markets than larger companies can."

In fact, over 70-percent of Korean products sold overseas through the channel are by small-and mid-sized companies, creating a new Korean Wave of products.
Government regulators say home-shopping companies' move into foreign markets could also help improve market issues here at home, like the high commission taken by the stations.

"Expanding their overseas business could improve their profits, as domestic market growth is slowing down, whereas foreign markets are just booming. This could also make room for domestic home-shopping channels to lower their commission rates, which stand as an entry barrier for small and mid-sized companies."

The government will also launch a new public home-shopping channel in the first half that will be solely dedicated to handling the products of small and mid-sized companies in its bid to help startups use home-shopping channels to introduce their products.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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