Korea's home shopping cable channels are rushing to set up operations in Southeast Asian countries as the domestic market is almost saturated.
GS Shop recently invested US$3.5 million into Vietnamese home shopping network Vivi Home Shopping, officially launching its foray into the Southeast Asian country. GS Shop has already launched home shopping channels in India, in 2009, and Thailand last year.
Meanwhile, Lotte Home Shopping began 24-hour broadcasting to 1.5 million homes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City last month through a joint venture called Lotte DatViet with Vietnamese media group DatViet.
And CJ O Shopping is preparing to launch a home shopping channel in Thailand in June after recently making inroads into China, India, Japan and Vietnam.
"Six home shopping channels are competing in the domestic market, which has a population of less than 50 million, and the market is virtually saturated," said one employee at CJ O Shopping. "In order to survive, companies need to increase their overseas revenues so they can make up for the shortfall in domestic sales."
CJ O Shopping saw its overseas revenues based on sales volume rise from W740 billion (US$1=W1,123) in 2010 to W1.1 trillion in 2011, up almost 50 percent.
Home shopping channels believe they have an advantage in Southeast Asia due to the high awareness of Korean brands among consumers there, due in part to the Korean Wave, as well as ample demand triggered by rising income levels in the region.