Nov. 14 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in is pursuing plans to foster his country's burgeoning beauty and skin care industry as part of bio-industrial development.
Korean beauty products have gained widespread popularity across Asia and companies are making inroads in North America. On Thursday, Moon instructed economic policymakers to focus on the "K-beauty" industry, Yonhap reported.
Moon's plans were revealed during an hourlong meeting with Hong Nam-ki, the economic vice minister, who also serves as Seoul's minister of strategy and finance.
During the meeting, Moon requested an economic strategy or plan for 2020, including plans for "innovative growth," according to the report.
The president specifically asked for new policies that would encourage startups, improve regulations and foster the cosmetics and skin care sector as part of the larger bio-industry.
Hong said he would create a new bio-industry "innovation task force" to help companies in the beauty industry and other areas that exemplify what Moon described as "the leadership of the Korean economy."
South Korea's beauty industry has expanded beyond the country's borders, owing to the popularity of Korean celebrities and shows in Asia. Its domestic market size in 2017 was estimated to be $8.8 billion, according to the United States' International Trade Administration.
But Korean beauty standards have also been cited as a cause for critical views of body image among women, and increasingly men, as they seek plastic surgery.
The plastic surgery industry is largely unregulated. In 2016, a male patient died from excessive bleeding during jaw surgery.
Kwon Dae-hee died as his surgeon carried out multiple operations.
Kwon's family received compensation of about $370,000 following a wrongful death lawsuit, but Kwon's surgeon's arrest warrant was dismissed on Thursday, News 1 reported.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has said South Korea has one of the highest rates of cosmetic surgeries in the world.