South Korea's cigarette exports rose to a record high last year on the back of growing demand from Southeast Asian countries, the latest customs data showed Saturday.
The total value of tobacco exports reached a record US$1.13 billion in 2017, up 9.7 percent from the previous year's $1.01 billion, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.
The figure has been on a steady rise, renewing records for four straight years since 2014. The tally surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2016.
The increase in outbound shipments to Southeast Asian countries was remarkable, with those exported to Vietnam jumping 50 percent to $87.7 million from $56.4 million in 2013, according to the data.
Exports to Thailand also increased 120 times from $597,000 to $9.72 million during the cited period.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the biggest importer of South Korean cigarettes, with $376 million worth of products shipped to the Middle East country last year, according to the data.
The amount of outbound shipments to Japan came next with $236 million, followed by Vietnam and then the United States with $80 million, the data showed. (Yonhap)