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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 515328, 12 pages
Research Article

Perspectives on the Market Globalization of Korean Herbal Manufacturers: A Company-Based Survey

1Policy Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 1672 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea
2School of Korea Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, Republic of Korea
3Clinical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 1672 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea
4Department of Convergence Technology Evaluation Researcher, Korea Technology & Information Promotion Agency for SMEs, 593 Daedeok-daero, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-340, Republic of Korea

Received 13 March 2015; Revised 22 May 2015; Accepted 3 June 2015

Academic Editor: Bhushan Patwardhan

Copyright © 2015 Dongsu Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The growth of herbal markets has increased substantially in South Korea, but the worldwide market share remains small despite significant governmental efforts. This study aimed to characterize manufacturing employment and identify employees’ general perceptions of market expansion. A survey study covering 567 companies was conducted using face-to-face interviews in 2012. Data were analyzed using comparisons among three manufacturing groups (i.e., the herbal dietary supplement manufacturing group, the herbal medicine manufacturing group, and the personal care product manufacturing group) or among the manufacturers themselves. We found that the majority of the manufacturing employee respondents were regular permanent and production workers. The domestic distributors were primarily chain stores/direct outlets or retailers/wholesalers, and the dominant product was red ginseng (hongsam). Although the responding companies exhibited a variety of perspectives, “advertisement/public relations” was cited as the most important factor in the development of the herbal industry. In contrast, “low manpower/seeking business partners” were the most crucial limiting and challenging factors for market globalization. Our results can be used to design a proper national plan by reducing the gaps in perspective between herbal product producers and policy makers.