K-beauty and K-medical products are becoming one of South Korea's biggest cash cowsall thanks to 'Hallyu' or the Korean wave.
With Korean culture like K-pop growing in popularity around the globe, Korea's health care and cosmetics exports reached almost 15 billion U.S. dollars last year.
That is almost the same amount as one of Korea's leading export products, mobile phones, during the same period.
Korean cosmetics accounted for 43 percent of the sector's total exports followed by medicine and medical equipment.
Demand for Korean makeup products has been on the rise with an average growth rate of around 35 percent a year for the past five years.
China was the biggest overseas market for South Korean beauty products, bringing in almost 27 billion dollars in 2018.
Hong Kong, the U.S. and Japan also have been major markets.
In addition, exports of Korean medicine have been increasing every year since 2014, with an increase of 15 percent in 2018 compared to the year before.
Biopharmaceuticals made up almost 40 percent of Korea's total medicine exports last year followed by vaccines and botox.
South Korea has categorized cosmetics, clothing, medicine, baby goods and agricultural and fishery products as key consumption goods. Exports of these products was worth a total of 27 billion dollars last year.
Recognizing their potential as key export items, the Finance Ministry proposed a plan last week to increase exports of these products to a target of 36 billion dollars by 2022.
Kim Da-mi, Arirang News.