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Driving Korean Fashion Market in Hong Kong and Beyond

Seoul-based fashion group starts regional expansion with opening five stores in Hong Kong within a year.

Best known for its signature baseball caps and street-style ready-to-wear, MLB Korea is a brand under FnF, a Seoul-based fashion group owning over eight Korean fashion and cosmetic lines. Reinterpreting the heritage of Major League Baseball (MLB) with a contemporary fashion touch, MLB Korea has become a wardrobe essential for many Korea pop celebrities and street-style fashionistas in Asia. Last year, the brand recorded 3.5 million baseball caps sold in Korea alone.

Seeing fashion from Korea taking a more prominent role in the international fashion scene, FnF would like to ride on this trend and expand MLB Korea to a global level, with Hong Kong as its starting point. In 2017, MLB Korea’s first overseas store was opened in Mong Kok, one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the city. With soaring sales and popularity, FnF quickly spread the brand’s footprint across Hong Kong in the following year, with new shops opening in the highest-traffic districts including Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay.

Jenny Tung, Retail Director of FnF, considers that while MLB Korea’s products and customer experience are vital, choosing the right location also plays a decisive part in the brand’s success. “Hong Kong is a well-known shopping mecca in Asia, providing excellent exposure to our brand,” Tung said, “we are also very careful in choosing the right location for our stores in order to elevate the brand image and maximise traffic.”

According to Tung, Hong Kong is the top-of-mind destination for overseas expansion. “We chose Hong Kong to launch the brand’s first overseas store as it is an international city with a great pool of talent. The city also has a very sophisticated retail market and ecosystem,” Tung said.

“We decided to use Hong Kong as the first test point, and replicate the model to other locations in the region as we expand,” she said, adding that more locations in Asia will be opened following the launch of its Taipei store earlier this year.

With the current 70:30 ratio between visitors and local customers for MLB Korea, FnF also plans to further build a local presence through continuous marketing efforts, such as using social media influencers and celebrities to build brand awareness and exposure.

InvestHK has been in contact with FnF group when it first set up in Hong Kong. Tung finds that the assistance offered by the department very helpful. She added, “the networking events organised by InvestHK helped to expand our network and establish business contacts, resulting in increased brand exposure at different levels.”

04.01.2019

Fast Facts

  • FnF Hong Kong Limited currently oversees five retail stores in Hong Kong and two in Macau
  • Employs 15 office staff with functions such as marketing, visual merchandising, retail operations, logistics and finance
  • Hires over 70 frontline staff in Hong Kong and Macao

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