Koreatown Businesses Expand to Chinatown


Los Angeles Chinatown is steadily rising as an attractive market for Koreatown business owners as restaurants, bakeries and even cosmetic surgery clinics are making their ways to the crosstown neighborhood for broader opportunities.Untitled-1

A number of Korean-owned businesses, which has already built a strong customer base in Koreatown, is expanding to Chinatown thanks to the proverbial Hallyu, the global phenomenon of Korean pop culture that is especially prevalent among other Asians.

When Wave Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Laser Center (Wave), headquartered in Koreatown, recently opened its Arcadia branch in Chinatown, a flurry of customers visited the clinic with a photo of South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo in the hopes that a surgery or two will liken themselves to the superstar who has become immensely popular in China following the hit drama “Descendants of the Sun.”

Moreover, the Arcadia branch of the Wave clinic is a 6,500 square feet, two-story property specializing in multiple aesthetic treatments.

“It’s probably the first time that a cosmetic clinic has bought an entire property in Chinatown,” said Wave marketing director Kim Ji-ae. “Even in our business, the effect of the Hallyu is evident. We’re expecting a large demand for Korean-style cosmetic treatment among the Chinese population in Arcadia.”

Additionally, even Korean coffeehouses and bakeries have amped up their efforts to tap into the Chinese-American market. Global bakery café franchise Paris Baguette, which unlike its name, ironically began in Seoul, South Korea, has 185 retail stores in China. Recently, Paris Baguette also opened a store in Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall.

“Expanding to Chinatown could potentially help Korean-owned businesses to open up more opportunities while also avoiding competing against one another in Koreatown,” said an anonymous Korean-American food industry professional.

Other Korean-owned businesses occupying a store space in Westfield Santa Anita are All That Barbecue and Caffe Concerto. Sun Nong Dan, a Koreatown-based 24-hour restaurant that is famous for its traditional Korean stews, is also set to open a new location in Rowland Heights after recently starting a branch in San Gabriel Valley.

By Sang Woo Park