S. Korean e-commerce sites add more foreign currency payment options

2017.04.19 08:22:16 | 2017.04.19 08:22:57

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South Korea’s online shopping mall operators are adding more payment currency options to their sites in a bid to diversify their target foreign markets amid growing popularity of Korean fashion and beauty items in the world.

At the same time, they appeared to have reduced their reliance on China amid growing hostility against Korean products and companies following Seoul’s decision to deploy the U.S. antimissile system on its soil.

According to Cafe24 Corp., Korea-based electronic commerce (e-commerce) platform provider, 8 percent of the newly-opening Korean online shopping malls had Chinese yuan registered as their default payment currency in the first quarter of this year, down from 11 percent in the same period last year. Also, 65 percent were set the U.S. dollar as their default currency and 16 percent with Japanese yen, down 2 percentage points, respectively.

Over the same period, the number of Korean e-commerce sites that have added other foreign currencies such as euro and those of Taiwan, Australia, and Hong Kong as default payment currencies increased from 4 percent to 10 percent.

In general, online shopping mall operators offer currencies of countries that they consider as key markets as default payment currencies. In the past, a majority of Korean e-commerce site operators have registered only currencies of the U.S., China, and Japan, but an increasing number of them are adding other foreign currency payment options in an attempt to diversify target markets.

An unnamed official from Cafe24 said the number of online shopping malls targeting consumers in Europe and Southeast Asia has increased significantly in the first quarter of this year and the number of new online shopping malls offering currencies of these countries as a default payment option has more than doubled from the previous quarter. This trend suggests that Korean online shopping mall companies are putting out efforts to make inroads into other markets, the official added.

Thanks to growing popularity of Korean pop culture, so-called Korea Wave, demand for Korean apparel and fashion-related items are growing across the world, in particular, in Southeast Asian countries such as Taiwan, Asia’s fourth-largest e-commerce market after China, Japan, and Korea.

By Choi Seung-jin

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