Philip Morris International Korea (PMIK) will increase its cigarette exports to an expected 20 billion sticks this year after securing larger markets in Japan and Australia.
The company will expand its export of cigarettes manufactured in its factory in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, in an effort to make up for domestic losses caused by a tobacco tax hike that went into effect on Jan. 1. The bill—which increased tobacco prices to won4,500 per pack from the average won2,500 per pack—resulted in significant decreases in sales for tobacco makers operating in the country. PMIK’s sales dropped by approximately 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014.
In 2012, the company invested approximately won200 billion into the Yangsan factory to expand its packaging facilities and add raw material processing facilities. Today, the factory has the ability to produce 40 billion cigarettes per year, double its prior manufacturing capacity.
“Since 2012, our exports grew more than 10 times, thanks to the increased capacity in Yangsan factory, as well as the growing quality,” said Mikhail Prokopchuk, PMIK’s director of operations.
Exports from the Yangsan factory to Japan, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macua have increased dramatically since manufacturing capabilities were expanded, with export volumes increasing from 900 million cigarettes in 2012 to 4.5 billion cigarettes in 2014.