SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports of cosmetics shot up 16 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, data showed Sunday, on the back of the growing demand from the United States and Asian countries.

Outbound shipments of cosmetics reached US$7.57 billion last year, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service and the Korea Cosmetic Association.

The country’s exports of cosmetics had been maintaining two-digit annual growth since 2012, until they temporarily slowed in 2019 by rising 4.2 percent.

Experts say the growth was attributable to the cultural wave of “hallyu” overseas, which refers to the boom of South Korea-made entertainment goods, including pop music, movies and TV dramas.

By destination, exports to China soared 24.5 percent to reach $3.81 billion, with shipments to the U.S. and Japan also moving up 21.6 percent and 59.2 percent over the cited period, respectively.

China accounted for 50.3 percent of the total annual exports of cosmetics in 2020, rising from 47.9 percent posted a year earlier.

South Korea’s imports of cosmetics, on the other hand, fell 6.2 percent on-year in 2020 to $1.48 billion.

Last year, the country’s total outbound shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from 2019.