China is the biggest overseas buyer of South Korean beauty products, according to data released by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute. The country accounted for 41.1 percent of K-beauty exports in 2015, a considerable jump on 2013 figures, when exports to China represented just 22.1 percent of the total.
Shipments of make-up also soared, up from US$274.34 million in 2013 to US$1.04 billion in 2015.
But while the numbers are cheering for K-beauty manufacturers now, according to a report published by Yonhap News, such heavy reliance on the Chinese market places the K-beauty industry at significant risk.
China has objected to plans to install an advanced US missile defence system on Korean soil, and could drum up anti-Korean sentiment, not to mention impose economic sanctions on Korean goods should the plan go ahead.