Chinese are coming back to South Korea and buying Korean products again as Beijing phases out its unofficial yet blunt measures to punish Seoul for installing the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery after their president Xi Jinping vowed to normalize bilateral ties in respect to the new Korean government.
According to various industry sources, a Chinese medical equipment company has consulted with a Korean travel agency about changing its destination for staff trip for its 9,000 employees from Thailand to Korea to suggest easing in the unofficial ban on Chinese group tours to Korea.
AmorePacific Corp., Korea’s largest cosmetics maker, said its Chinese website whose connection has been interrupted from suspected state interference since March has been normalized. It reposted ads featuring Korean actresses this week and online sales have jumped 40 percent.
Access to websites of Korean cosmetics brands has been disrupted and popular social media like Weibo are suspected to have intentionally blocked exposures of Korean video streams.
Industry sources said retailers and investors in China have begun inquiring about their products and business opportunities. Korean beauty care products also have returned to home shopping channels.
Asiana Airlines said it had invited 28 Chinese power bloggers to Korea.
An official at Lotte Engineering & Construction said the company has resumed activities to market luxury penthouses of Signiel Residence. The company has been trying to sell the Signiel Residence covering from 42nd to 71st floors of the country’s newly-built tallest buiIding Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, southern Seoul costing up to 30 billion won ($26.6 million) per unit to rich Chinese.
Its sales activities were suspended from February after the Lotte brand and companies were hardest hit by the boycott and retaliation from Beijing authorities after it had yielded its golf course for the location to host the THAAD battery.
President Moon Jae-in who during campaign questioned the procedure of hurried installation of THAAD and promised more engaging policy toward North Korea in line with China’s hopes sent high-profile envoy Lee Hae-chan, former prime minister and seve-term lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, to Beijing.
Upon receiving hand-written letter from Moon, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was “willing to work with South Korea to preserve the hard-won results, properly handle disputes, and put bilateral ties back onto a normal track to benefits of both people on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.”
By Jeon Ji-hyun and Kim Gi-jung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]