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Kolmar Korea makes R&D push for bigger footing globally

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : March 31, 2024 - 14:06

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Sunscreen sticks are being produced at a Kolmar Korea's factory in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province. (Kolmar Korea) Sunscreen sticks are being produced at a Kolmar Korea's factory in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province. (Kolmar Korea)

The global rise in popularity of K-beauty brands has brought attention to Kolmar Korea, a leading cosmetics original design manufacturer that has secured a whopping 70 percent market share in the sun care sector alone here.

According to the company Sunday, its “Fitting SPF Boosting” technology has been integrated into multiple sun care items sold at home and abroad. More recently, the products are selling hot in the US through major distribution channels, including Amazon.

The Fitting SPF Boosting technology allows sunscreen particles to work both in water and oil, which means the protection remains even for sweaty skin. The technology is also designed to offer a thinner and more transparent texture while leaving no white cast.

“The US is one of the most stringent markets where sunscreen products are categorized as over-the-counter products subject to rigorous regulations,” a Kolmar official said. “Kolmar became the first Korean beauty company to enter the market by getting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2013.”

Currently, the company has amassed 57 patents related to advanced ultraviolet protection and continues to pioneer discoveries, including the recent finding of “Kolmar Biome 20,” an anti-aging microbiome that is being studied to combat UV-induced skin damage.

In 2022, the company also established its own UV Tech Innovation Lab to further intensify its global market-oriented R&D efforts with a solid customer base of more than 900 corporate clients worldwide. In July last year, the firm also set up the NJ Innovation Center of HK Kolmar Laboratories in New Jersey to develop raw materials and formulations to better meet the preferences of North American consumers.

Kolmar is also ramping up efforts to beef up production. While the first plant of Kolmar USA, its US unit, continues to expand its capacity, the second plant is under construction to be completed by the year-end. Both plants are located in Pennsylvania.

The company said it will continue to tap into new markets, leveraging its global network which spans the US, China, Vietnam and Singapore. In Japan, for instance, Korea’s Laka brand using Kolmar’s technology topped lip tint sales last year.

“We are constantly spending on R&D, about 7 percent of sales annually. This R&D push has allowed us to secure a competitive edge in overseas markets,” the Kolmar official added.

Kolmar posted 2.15 trillion won ($1.59 billion) in sales and 136.58 billion won in operating profits last year, up 15.5 percent and 86.4 percent, respectively, from a year before.