KT&G, the largest cigarette company in Korea, created such a major stir in the international cigarette market with its flagship brand ESSE that we simply could not stand aside and decided to write an introductory article about this new-comer to global tobacco market.
KT&G is an overwhelming leader in domestic tobacco market, holding 63% percent market share.
Its portfolio comprises ESSE, Korea’s best-selling cigarette; The One, Raison, This Plus, Season and Bohem. KT&G has an 80-percent market share in the super slim segment and 40% in the king size category.
The company has four manufacturing facilities in Korea equipped with the most upgraded technologies and making 140 billion cigarettes every year.
In addition the company also owns cigarette-making units in Iran, Turkey and Russia (to be opened this summer) which manufacture KT&G brands for the international market.
Uncommon packaging is an essential means of communication with adult customers, so the company is eager to develop catchy and striking images to interest smokers. KT&G innovates the packaging for its products at least once a year. Moreover, they pay attention to promotion of their products, by introducing a great number of limited edition styles and special selections.
KT&G has been can be considered as one of the leaders in production innovations among major international tobacco companies. Among its latest innovations, the company names the creation of different kinds of highly effective filters, for instance, bamboo charcoal filter and triple-layered cavitec filters.
According to the company, they are in the process of creating ultra low tar cigarettes (with tar level of 0.1mg, compared to 10.0mg contained in the world’s best-selling brand Marlboro Red. The company’s revolutionary technology Less Smoke Smell (LSS) attracted significant attention of adult smokers.
In domestic market there is an astonishing surge of popularity and demand for super slims and low tar cigarettes. So the company put significant attention to create premium quality cigarettes to fit the requirements of Korean smokers. As the super slim segment keeps growing KT&G as well keeps boosting its market presence.
During the last several years KT&G began selling its brands in different overseas market. According to 2009 revenues report, the company’s largest international market is the Middle East, with Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq being the leading markets for the company in this region.
The company has also enjoyed a great performance is the Eastern Europe region with its key brand ESSE, which gained the love and trust of female smokers shortly after its introduction to the market. Currently ESSE brand is the third-best selling brand in super slim category in Poland, Russia and Ukraine, becoming a sort of a standard for premium quality among cigarette brands.
According to KT&G, ESSE is the leading international brand from the point of view of health-oriented and premium cigarettes category, as the company applied a great effort to create a product with a very low lever of tar and nicotine, highly effective filter technology and the lowest amount of harmful additives across the industry.