HiteJinro Co., a South Korean producer of alcoholic beverages including soju and beer, is stepping up its efforts to penetrate overseas markets based on its strong sales performances in the Korean beer and soju market.
The company announced on Feb. 25 that its “Strawberry Soju” will be available at 4,600 Seven Eleven stores in the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
HiteJinro is selling soju products such as “Cham Iseul Soju” and “Grape Iseul Soju” through Southeast Asia's leading distribution channels. With “Strawberry Iseul Soju” selling at Seven Eleven stores, the company has finished putting Soju products in large retail distribution chains. Strawberry Iseul Soju will hit the shelves at about 2,400 stores in the Philippines, about 2,000 stores in Thailand and about 200 stores in Singapore by the end of February.
HiteJinro surpassed 2 trillion won in sales last year on the back of the popularity of “Terra” beer and “Jinro Is Back” soju and made a turnaround in seven years. The company accounted for about 60 percent of the soju market in Korea. Its share of the beer market was also estimated to have risen from 27 percent in 2018 to 33 percent in 2019.
Hite Jinro has been actively tapping overseas markets lately. In January, HiteJinro Philippines was established in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. The company also exported more than 13,000 boxes of soju, including Strawberry Iseul Soju which is popular in Southeast Asia. The Philippine subsidiary is an overseas corporation established three years after the establishment of the Vietnam subsidiary in 2016. It is the company’s sixth overseas subsidiary after those in Japan, the United States, China, Russia and Vietnam.
HiteJinro launched a campaign to globalize soju sales in 2016 and focused on Southeast Asian countries. The company’s soju sales in Southeast Asia grew an annual average of 22 percent over the last four years from 2016 to 2019.
In April 2018, the company also launched “Jinro Light,” a customized product to target the distilled liquor market in the Philippines. With the new product, it doubled its sales in 2018 compared to 2015. The average annual growth rate has been 27.2 percent over the last three years.