Memebox is Korea’s no. 1 beauty subscription commerce service that provides its customers with five to six beauty items every month for a nominal monthly fee of US$15; next stop: Thailand

Beauty curation service Memebox dominates Korea, next stop: Thailand

beSUCCESS 3, Aug 2013Asia 

With positive feedback from its home market in South Korea beauty curation service Memebox seeks global growth, starting from Southeast Asia.


Memebox is Korea’s no. 1 beauty subscription commerce service that provides its customers with five to six beauty items every month for a nominal monthly fee of US$15. Memebox aims to deliver the most exciting beauty experience to consumers in a one-stop service for beauty shopping. Now they are looking to expand their sights beyond the borders of their home country and establish themselves globally, starting first by entering the Southeast Asian market.Going global

Memebox recently accompanied beSUCCESS to Singapore as one of ten Korean startups that won the chance through the K-APP Global Hub Program to go to Singapore for an intensive week of seminars, business matching and networking. When asked about their hopes for the trip to Singapore, Memebox CEO Dino Ha said, “Of course, we wanted to speak with investors and potential partners in the region, but our main goal was to gain a sense of the market conditions in Southeast Asia and also gauge the demands and disposition of customers in the countries that Memebox is targeting. Through the trip to Singapore and the subsequent KAPP lectures, we were able to enhance our understanding of the Southeast Asian market environment and the potential for our service. We also had valuable meetings with potential local partners who offered synergy, in terms of our vision for expansion to the region.”

Korean Beauty Industry Seeing Massive domestic and Global growth

The Korean beauty product industry is alive and kicking, and is enjoying a time of unprecedented growth. Cosmetics exports stood at US$1.07 billion last year. Coupled with the world’s obsession for plastic surgery and some of the fastest-evolving beauty technology, spas and cosmetic lines in the world, Korea has become a bona fide beauty destination, with both product exports and “cosmetic-surgery tourism” enjoying rapid growth. In fact, according to a recent government survey, the items tourists most want to purchase while visiting are Korean beauty products. Memebox is looking to cash in on this by delivering Korean beauty products to the doorsteps of its global customers, in a similar way that it does for its domestic customers.

More about Memebox

After using the one-month product samples from the Memebox, consumers have the option of buying the full sized product in the Memeshop at a discounted price. Currently Memebox has more than 100,000 users and is past the preparation stage, and is now ready to execute their global expansion strategy. After Japan, their next target market is Thailand, and later the rest of Southeast Asia. Although the Southeast Asian mobile and e-commerce markets are not yet fully developed, first mover advantage is something that will hand Memebox a headstart ahead of its competitors when the market begins to hit explosive growth rates.

It looks like Memebox have a bright future when you consider the appetite for Korean cosmetics, both domestically and globally, and they clearly got things right from the outset, achieving break-even point in their third month of business. Since then their revenue has risen to US$2 million having opened for business in 2012, and they continue to see sustained and rapid grow month on month. Their position is also bolstered by a long-term partnership agreement with powerful local partners, such as CJ E&M, a major media channel in Korea. This, combined with their existing partnership agreements with over 300 beauty suppliers and manufacturers in Korea, makes their expansion plans seem very realistic, as long as logistical issues can be resolved effectively. Don’t be surprised if you soon start seeing boxes with Korean cosmetics getting delivered in your neighborhood.

More about this article series

The KAPP article series will cover each of the 20 startups that took part in the KAPP Global Hub Program, which took Korean startups to two global startup hubs, and is followed with a series of targeted workshops to ensure that the relationships and experience gained during the overseas trips was fully leveraged. Ten startups went to Singapore to discover the Southeast Asian markets, build partner relationships and gain investment for global growth. The other 10 companies went to Israel to engage with, and learn from, experts in one of the World’s most prolific high-tech centres.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: