January 07, 2013 13:00
The number of foreign sales staff has been increasing at cosmetics shops in Seoul's swish Myeong-dong shopping area amid a tourism boom.
Foreigners account for 60 to 70 percent of all sales staff at major cosmetics brands such as TheFaceShop, It's Skin and Nature Republic, which have over five outlets each in Meyong-dong, according to industry figures.
Sixty of It's Skin's 66 staffers at six outlets in the area are Chinese or Japanese; only the managers are Korean.
As a result of the weakening yen, the number of Japanese tourists has dropped a little, but there are now more Chinese visitors and a corresponding rise in Chinese-speaking salespeople.
The number of Korean-Chinese who can communicate with Korean customers also increased.
Sixty percent of all foreign staff at TheFaceShop's outlets in tourist areas like Myeong-dong and Namdaemun Market are from China. At Nature Republic's shops, 70 percent are Chinese or Korean Chinese and 30 percent Japanese.
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