The Chairman and Chief Executive of South Korea’s largest cosmetics company, Amore Pacific, has been named Businessman of the Year 2015 by Forbes Asia. Suh Kyung-Bae is featured on the cover of the latest issue, available on newsstands now.
Suh is credited with the company’s global success, having taken the helm from his father in 1997. The entrepreneur transformed the Korean-centric business to a global operation, selling non-cosmetics business units and extending product lines before expanding throughout Asia.
AmorePacific now boasts a presence in 14 markets worldwide and a portfolio of 20 brands. The company is particularly popular with Chinese consumers, with group sales in the Republic more than tripling in the last four years to reach US$450 million. Sales in the wider Asian region (excluding South Korea and China) soared 152 percent in 2014. The company has conquered the US market too, becoming the first Korean brand to open a concession in Bloomingdales this summer. AmorePacific has also captured the attention of established European brands, licensing its cushion technology to LVMH-owned Dior.
Revenue is expected to reach US$4.9 billion this year, up from US$4.5 billion in 2014 as the company rides the K-beauty wave. Suh is now ranked the second-wealthiest person in South Korea, with a net worth of US$9.2 billion. “South Korea arguably has become Asia’s capital of cool. Entertainment is a big part of this trendiness, but it’s AmorePacific’s soft-spoken Mr Suh who in financial terms is the King of Cool,” commented Tim Ferguson, Editor of Forbes Asia.