KT&G expects that its cigarette exports will exceed its domestic sales this year, according to a story in The Korea Times.
A company spokesperson was quoted as saying that KT&G, which accounted for 63 percent of the domestic market, exported 43.4 billion cigarettes to 50 countries last year. Export volumes were up by 27 percent on those of 2013.
The company sold about 56 percent of its output in Korea and shipped the remaining 44 percent overseas.
And this year exports were expected to exceed domestic consumption.
“At first, we set up a presence in the Middle East, Russia and Central Asian nations,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. “But then, we entered the United States, Turkey, Indonesia, and countries in Eastern Europe and Africa. We have successfully diversified our markets.”
KT&G established plants in Turkey in 2008 and in Iran in 2009. It opened production facilities in Russia in 2010, producing mostly ESSE super-slim cigarettes. In 2011, the company acquired an Indonesian cigarette maker to expand its reach in Southeast Asia.
KT&G’s Shintanjin plant in Daejeon is said to have played a pivotal role in the company’s international expansion.
The Shintanjin plant, which began operation in 1965, recently underwent a renovation and is now capable of producing nearly 50 billion cigarettes annually. The factory employs 1,000 workers and makes ESSE and other super-slim cigarettes.