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Once a billionaire factory, South Korea's beauty industry turns ugly

Pandemic has taken a double hit on K-beauty. Social distancing and remote work have lessened demand for makeup and led to store closures

Beautycare
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The pandemic has accelerated the shift to online in the beauty industry.

Yoojung Lee | Bloomberg
Three years ago, Suh Kyung-bae was the second-richest person in South Korea. Today he’s barely Top 10, a stark reversal in a K-beauty boom known for minting billionaires, not breaking them.

Suh’s $3.6 billion fortune -- down from roughly $8 billion in 2017 -- is largely comprised of shares in his family’s cosmetics conglomerate, Amorepacific Group, which have fallen more than 40% from a mid-January high. The parent of brands like Innisfree, Laniege and Sulwhasoo, Amorepacific was struggling even before Covid-19, and the pandemic has ushered in a slew of lifestyle changes that have made cosmetics less central to women’s daily

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First Published: Dec 28 2020 | 8:16 AM IST

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