Store market

GS25 set to enter Malaysia’s convenience store market

Jeong Jae-hyung (right), head of GS Retail’s convenience store business, poses for a photo with Datuk Seri Dr. KK Chai, founder of KK Group, after signing a memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur on July 9 .

Korean convenience stores are accelerating their overseas expansion due to the popularity of K-pop and Korean TV shows. They quickly expand their activities in three countries: Vietnam, Malaysia and Mongolia. In particular, Korea’s top three convenience stores focus on Malaysia.

GS25 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with KK Group, a Malaysian retail giant, on July 9 to enter the Malaysian market. KK Group operates the largest convenience store chain in the country which has 610 KK Mart stores nationwide. It also manages hotels and resorts.

With the entry of GS25 into Malaysia, all three major Korean convenience stores are present in the country. Malaysia is ranked third among ASEAN countries in terms of GDP per capita. The country is considered to have strong growth potential for convenience stores, with the average age of its entire population being 28.5 years.

CU opened its first store in Kuala Lumpur in April last year and recently opened its 100th store. E-Mart 24 entered Malaysia in June last year and now operates 20 stores. CU plans to expand its stores to more than 500 over the next five years, and E-Mart 24 plans to open 300 stores within five years.

The key to the growing popularity of Korean convenience stores is that they have managed to differentiate themselves by offering Korean food. CU Malaysia’s two best-selling items are two Tteokbokki dishes. They represent 60% of total sales. For E-Mart 24 Malaysia, instant food sales including Cup Rice, Tteokbokki, Chicken Gangjeong and Triangular Gimbap account for 51% of all product sales.

GS25 plans to introduce its own original products such as Simple Cook and Cookat to Malaysian customers. It also plans to provide user-friendly services that are popular in Korea, such as half-price package delivery services.