December 04, 2021 08:17
Seongsu-dong in Seoul next to the sprawling Seoul Forest has attracted many IT companies and retailers to emerge as the new hipster center of the capital.
While Seoul's major shopping districts of Myeong-dong and Garosugil saw business wane during the coronavirus pandemic, Seongsu-dong, once an industrial area still full of auto-repair shops and shoe-factories, has drawn legions of trendy and affluent young people. Recently, top entertainment and game companies like SM Entertainment and Krafton moved their headquarters there, turning it into a mini-Silicon Valley.
Trend-savvy businesses are drawn to Seongsu-dong because around half of the people who frequent the area are in their 20s and 30s. Although they lack the purchasing power of people in their 40s and 50s, these young consumers are extremely sensitive to the latest trends.
Kia recently exhibited its fully electric crossover EV6 in Seongsu-dong, while Hankook Tire held an event in the neighborhood showcasing its latest products. LG opened a pop-up booth in an outdoor café in Seongsu-dong showcasing its new aquafarming appliance Tiiun to demonstrate various vegetables being grown with the appliance.
"We wanted to let customers have fun seeing a new home appliance in a backstreet instead of a mall," an LG staffer said.
Other businesses are using Seongsu-dong as a testbed for new products. Amore Pacific is using its store there to offer customers with artificial intelligence-assisted service by helping them find matching lip colors for their complexion.
Seongsu-dong is virtually the only area of Seoul that has kept its vibe despite the pandemic.
A local business owner said, "Luxury apartments, game companies like Krafton and entertainment companies like SM Entertainment moved to this neighborhood, leading to an increase in visitors, and many people come here from Gangnam on weekends."
And yet Seongsu-dong has suffered less gentrification than other areas of Seoul, so there are fewer franchise restaurants and more quirky, individual stores in the neighborhood. Another plus is the proximity to Han River and Seoul Forest. Song Ji-young at fashion company Handsome said, "The popularity of Seongsu-dong as a testbed for new products and technologies is going to continue."
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