Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dividend Growth Companies in Korea

If you follow dividend growth stocks you will notice a trend.  US companies are expanding internationally to fuel growth.  Since I am now stationed in South Korea I see this strategy in action firsthand.  It's amazing to find to the same products as back home and cooler yet to see products customized to fit local tastes.  The past few days I've been taking pictures of American products and brands sold in Korea.  It's been a lot of fun.


Coke products seem to be very popular in this country.  I have no idea what the market share is, but it's not uncommon to see coke advertisements and coke products.  While in a small grocery store I noticed a strange juice made by Minute Maid.  Some type of Aloe juice, never seen this one before (one side is in English, the other Hangul).  I bought a bottle which was a good move, it's awesome.  It has a sweet, pleasant taste and has bits of fruit mixed in with the juice.  Diamond water is also a product I've never seen before, it has a coca cola label on it.  Diamond is a popular brand of bottle water in the military because it tastes good, comes in a big bottle, and is cheap.


Pepsi appears to be less popular than coke, but is still all over the place.  Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Gatorade are sold in the vending machine shown above.  A can costs about 65 cents American.  Frito Lay can be found in grocery and convenience stores, there are a lot of flavors.  I have no idea what the flavors are since I can't read Hangul, so I picked one that looked like nacho cheese.  It has less flavor than what I'm used to.

Phillip Morris
I see a HUGE opportunity for Phillip Morris over here.  A lot of Koreans smoke, about 24% according to some website.  Sounds about right.  The thing is not all stores carry Marlboros.  They have not fully penetrated this market.  It's almost impossible to find Camel or Newport, it's clear PM is making headway.  Korean cigarettes have charcoal in the filters I'm told (not Marlboros), maybe they need to look at that.  Or maybe PM already owns local brands that do?  I noticed Marlboro "Ice Ball" are popular with soldiers stationed here.  The ice ball is similar to the Camel Crush in that it has a small ball inside the filter that you can break to release menthol.  It's only sold in Asia as far as I know.  A pack of smokes costs around $2-$2.50.

Procter & Gamble
It's not a surprise to find P&G products at grocery stores.  Familiar brands such as Fusion, Head & Shoulders, and Downy.  I have yet to find Crest (or Colgate) toothpaste/toothbrushes.  P&G has some work to do in South Korea.  It's clear there is room left to grow.

Johnson & Johnson

I haven't seen much from J&J except the baby products shown in the picture.  I imagine Tylenol and Acuvue are also sold in Korea.  I've only been here a month, I'll discover more as I go.

McDonald's are rare.  I've only seen one so far which was located in Itaewon.  Itaewon is an Americanized part of Seoul where many soldiers and other Americans go to shop and drink.  It seems to me that fast food wouldn't be popular with the typical Korean.  I've been here a month and have yet to see an obese Korean.  It's astonishing!  Every other American is a fat-ass, it's so refreshing to see healthy people.

General Mills
I saw a Haagen Daaz ice cream truck on a bus ride home, but didn't have my phone handy at the time.  It's about all I've seen from GIS so far.  The grocery store I was shopping at carried Post cereals, no Cheerios or any other General Mills brand.  A store carrying Post leads me to believe GIS brands are sold somewhere.  I don't imagine Koreans eat cereals very often, different culture.

Military bases sell regular American products we are used to.  I do not have to shop off base, but that won't stop me from seeing what my retirement plan is up to.


  1. Korean takeout is crazy inexpensive compared to the west.

    Korean BBQ is also amazing; best food on the planet. You should definately try it.


    1. I'll look into that. So far I've enjoyed some chicken dishes and yaki mandu. I tried beef bulgogi, wouldn't get it again.

  2. Great post CI. Very interesting to see what's being sold in a upstart economy. Thanks for the information. And as always, thanks for your service to the USA. Hope you had a good 4th.

    1. No problem, I'll post more about what I see in the future. Only been here a month. South Korea is industrialized it's the home of Samsung, LG, Kia, Hyundai, Daewoo, etc.

  3. Great Post! Asia is great place to grow your company. I am also currently staying in South Korea. I just thought I would mention some other American companies that have expanded here. They include Chevrolet car dealerships, there a at least 4 McDonald's in Daegu, several KFC's, a few Taco Bell's only in Seoul though, Burger King, Subway Sandwich restaurants, Costco (carry's lots of american brands), Nike stores, Starbucks almost everywhere, Dunkin Donuts, ADT security, Gillette, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, I have not seen Tylenol yet but I have seen Acuvue (referring to your post). There are a lot more American companies here than I can list but I was really surprised with how well Costco, McDonald's, and Starbucks do here.

    1. Yes I've seen a Costco as well and Citi banks. In fact I noticed Citi ATM's in the subway yesterday. Still only seen one McDonalds which was in an Americanized section of town. It's like seeing a chinese restuarant in China town, haha. I would note that Daegu is about 2.5 million people strong, 4 Mickey Dees is pretty minimal. Either Koreans don't eat many hamburgers/fast food, or MCD is just getting started over here. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

      I like hearing other people's experiences and thoughts. Thanks for stopping by.