This photo, provided by Orion Corp. on Tuesday, shows its flagship Choco Pie products on display at a Russian store. (Orion Corp.)
South Korean confectionary companies enjoyed brisk overseas sales in 2020 thanks to the high popularity of Korean pop culture and food abroad, industry sources said Tuesday.
Overseas sales of industry giant Orion Corp. stood at approximately 1.5 trillion won ($1.34 billion) last year, accounting for 65.6 percent of its overall top line.
Last year's figure was up from 1.3 trillion won in 2019, 1.2 trillion won in 2018 and 1.06 trillion won in 2017.
China was Orion's largest overseas market, with its sales in the world's most populous country reaching some 1.1 trillion won, passing the 1 trillion-won mark for the first time in three years.
China was followed by Vietnam with 292 billion won and Russia with 89 billion won.
Orion's bestselling product abroad was Choco Pie, a chocolate-covered marshmallow snack. Overseas sales of the flagship product came to 381.4 billion won last year, up from 341.4 billion won.
Other major industry players, including Lotte Confectinery Co., Crown Confectionery Co. and Haitai Confectionery & Foods Co., also chalked up resilient overseas sales.
Lotte saw its overseas sales of Choco Pie surge to 101 billion won in 2020 from 93 billion won a year earlier. The company runs four overseas Choco Pie plants -- two in India, one in Russia and one in Pakistan.
In addition, Lotte exported around 100 billion won worth of snacks last year, with overseas sales of its long-time bestseller Pepero alone amounting to 35 billion won. Pepero is a thin cookie stick with an outer layer of compound chocolate.
Crown's exports climbed 10 percent on-year to 22 billion won in 2020, and those of Haitai surged 20 percent to 40 billion won.
South Korean snack firms' strong overseas sales come amid ongoing overseas interest in South Korea and its pop culture K-pop, or the Korean Wave.
An industry source said South Korean snacks are gaining more popularity among foreigners as well as South Korean nationals overseas on the back of continued interest in the Korean Wave and Korean food. (Yonhap)