Ramen expansion: Korea’s Samyang Foods ramps up overseas investment

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Korean ramen giant Samyang Foods is emphasising focus on overseas expansion, with its first foreign sales unit in Japan, and a new halal ramen plant in Malaysia. ©Samyang
Korean ramen giant Samyang Foods is emphasising focus on overseas expansion, with its first foreign sales unit in Japan, and a new halal ramen plant in Malaysia. ©Samyang

Related tags: Samyang, Ramen, Investment

Korean ramen giant Samyang Foods is emphasising focus on overseas expansion, with its first foreign sales unit in Japan, and a new halal ramen plant in Malaysia.

The company will be establishing Samyang Japan as its first overseas sales unit, calling this a ‘strategic expansion’​ which aims to promote localisation of distribution and expand […] sales channels to convenience stores, large-scale marts [and so on]’​ in accordance with Japanese consumer demands.

A Samyang spokesman elaborated that: “Samyang Japan will be positioned as a base for advancement to Japan.

“Japan is the world's third largest market with an estimated KRW6tn (US$5.4bn) of ramen consumption, and the popularity of Korean ramen has been growing recently.”

Apart from this, Samyang added that it is looking to social networking to actively market and promote brand awareness by using its Buldak character to reflect Japanese characteristics.

According to Pulse News, ​Japan took a total of KRW203.7bn (US$182.4mn) worth of Samyang food products, and annual sales in the country have risen some 138% on average yearly since the hot chicken flavour noodle range was launched back in 2016.

Some notable Samyang ramen products include its kimchi ramen, potato ramen and its spicy Buldak ramen range.

Halal ramen production

From the production aspect, Samyang has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia’s FGV Holdings Bhd to set up a halal ramen manufacturing plant in the South East Asian country.

“Samyang is excited at the prospect of expanding our line of products to the vast and growing global halal market by collaborating with FGV as they have valuable experience producing high quality and halal food products,” ​said Samyang Foods CEO Kim Jung Soo.

In an official statement, FGV added that this plant would cater to both local and international markets.

This alliance will also give FGV access to various levels of the Samyang Foods supply chain, which includes ‘cooking oil, vegetable fats and sugar for their existing ramen plant in Wonju, South Korea’​.

“The global halal food market is one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry and is expected to reach more than US$740bn in value by 2025,”​ said FGV CEO Dato’ Haris Fadzilah Hassan.

“Samyang Foods is an established global brand. Therefore this is a fantastic business prospect for FGV to explore and will ultimately benefit Malaysia by further positioning it as an integrated halal hub for global markets.

“We will be able to leverage on our local expertise in the halal industry including Malaysian halal accreditation which is recognised worldwide,”​ added Haris.

International recognition

Samyang Foods took the world by storm in 2016, especially in South East Asia, when various videos showcasing consumers taking a ‘Korean spicy ramen/fire noodles challenge’ went viral on the internet.

The ramen in question was Samyang’s Buldak Spicy Chicken Ramen, and its popularity was not in any way planned, said the company.

"In the beginning, we developed the product targeting local spicy food lovers in the niche market,"​ said Samyang Foods marketing manager Park Jung Seok to Korea Herald.

"[In 2016], Buldak ramen fever hit the South-east Asian market [and] our skyrocketing sales graph hit its peak.”

The craze continues today, and has motivated Samyang to develop an entire line of products in the Buldak series, including Cheese Buldak Ramen, Mara Buldak Ramen, Curry Buldak Ramen and more.

Samyang added that since 2012, some 1 billion packs of Buldak ramen have been sold, 400 million of which were sold in just 2017.

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