Kodak Apparel Intensifies Expansion into Chinese Market

Written by Ethan  on 21 Mar, 2024
Kodak Apparel Intensifies Expansion into Chinese Market | 1
[Photo provided by Kodak Apparel]

The premium lifestyle wear brand Kodak Apparel is intensifying its expansion into the Chinese market.

Highlight Brands has designated 2024 as the inaugural year of Kodak Apparel's international expansion, with the first global step targeted towards China. In March, they acquired the business operation rights for Greater China, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, from the American Kodak headquarters. Based on Kodak’s high global recognition and successful experience in Korea, Highlight Brands plans to sequentially target markets in Greater China starting with mainland China.

Kodak Apparel Intensifies Expansion into Chinese Market | 2
[Photo provided by Kodak Apparel]

The primary consumers are fashion trendsetters in their 20s and 30s in China. Aligning with the outdoor trend that has permeated the lifestyle of the younger generation, the plan includes enhancing the outerwear lineup such as anoraks and jackets and sets of tops and bottoms, emphasizing Korean K-styling leading the global trend with products featuring the Kodak logo and primary colors like red and yellow.

The distribution network will initially focus on online platforms. In April, branding and product marketing will commence on Chinese SNS platforms such as Xiaohongshu and Weibo, with sales to kick off starting with online channel entries in the first half of the year. Positive reviews are currently underway for love calls from major offline distribution channels in China.

The backdrop to Kodak Apparel’s entry into China includes the expectations for the domestic market growth due to China's economic recovery and the government's robust economic stimulus policies. The impact of Chinese tourists visiting Korea has also played a role. After purchasing products, wearing them locally has led to a virtuous cycle of increasing brand recognition. In fact, the number of foreign visitors to two Seoul duty-free shops where Kodak Apparel is located and Kodak Apparel’s Seongsu flagship store ‘Kodak Corner Shop’, and The Hyundai Seoul store has been steadily increasing. Since the Seongsu flagship store opened in January, more than 18,000 people visited in just two months until the end of February, with approximately 30% of all visitors being Chinese, proving the significant interest in Kodak Apparel. The Seongsu flagship store, differentiated by exclusive goods and a photo zone where visitors can experience Kodak’s unique heritage, has contributed to brand awareness enhancement through viral SNS posts by Chinese visitors, according to the brand's analysis.

Lee Joon-Kwon, CEO of Highlight Brands, said, “With the high interest in Kodak Apparel formed in Greater China, including China, we will lead the successful entry into the Chinese market by leveraging the brand's inherent competitiveness and combining it with local trends.”

Since its launch in 2020, Kodak Apparel has becomepopular among the 20s and 30s demographics, recording rapid sales growth and surpassing annual sales of 100 billion won last year, just four years after its launch. Currently, the brand is present in a total of 112 offline stores including major large department stores nationwide.

Highlight Brands has achieved last year's sales of 250 billion won, continuing the successful launch of brands like Kodak Apparel, Malbon Golf, and Diadora. This year, the company is targeting sales of 300 billion won, expanding its presence into the outdoor sector with the launch of Sierra Design last half-year and the upcoming lifestyle camping brand Diode's apparel line in the latter half of this year.


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