Daily Management Review

South Korean Market To Be Exited By U.S. E-Cigarette Maker Juul Labs


South Korean Market To Be Exited By U.S. E-Cigarette Maker Juul Labs
It was just about a year that the United States based e-cigarette maker Juul Labs had entered the South Korean market. However the company announced on Wednesday that it would be exiting the market and stopping all of its business operations in the South Korean market because it had not been able to create a dent in the market primarily because of health warnings from the local government there.
The company had implemented strategies such as significantly reducing costs and making changes to its products with the aim of re-establishing a viable business in South Korea. These measures which were initiated at the beginning of the year as a part of a restructuring plan of the company had not borne fruit, the company said in a statement.
"However, these innovations will not be available as anticipated," the statement said. "As a result, we intend to cease our operations in South Korea."
An advisory for consumers of South Korea, which was considered as a warning by some analysts, was issued by the national health ministry of the country against taking to the habit of vaping because of growing health concerns. This was issued by the government in October last year. This warning gained traction among the consumers after there were reports of a case of pneumonia in a 30-year-old e-cigarette smoker last year itself.
The sale of flavoured liquid e-cigarettes, including those made by Juul Labs, were suspended by convenience store chains and duty free shops as a direct consequence of the advisory from the health ministry. 
Some liquid e-cigarette products made by Juul Labs were found to contain vitamin E acetate, which may be linked to lung illnesses, the South Korean health authorities has said in December last year. However the use of the material in its e-cigarettes was vehemently denied by the company. 
In May 2019, a product portfolio that was specifically developed for the Korean market was officially launched in the market by Juul Labs. But the company said in a statement: "our performance has not met expectations in terms of meeting the needs of our Korean adult smokers to successfully transition from combustible cigarettes."
"We have learned through this process and are focused on innovating our product portfolio," the company said, noting it was committed to working with South Korean health authorities