WalkerHill’s Mikyong Kwon moves to Doosan Doota Duty Free in key post

Mikyong Kwon is one of the most respected executives in Korean travel retail

SOUTH KOREA. Much-respected former WalkerHill Senior Vice President/Head of Duty Free Division Mikyong Kwon has been appointed as Advisor, Retail & Duty Free Strategy by Doosan Corporation, a powerful newcomer to Korean duty free in 2016.

As revealed by The Moodie Report, Doosan was a shock winner of the downtown duty free licence previously held by Lotte Duty Free at Lotte World Tower, Seoul, in the bid for three Seoul downtown licences late last year.

Towering presence: Doosan Corporation may be synonymous with heavy industry but it is determined to carve out a strong presence in retail too (picture courtesy of Chosun.com)

Ms Kwon will act as Advisor to SW Park, Chief Strategy Officer of the newly formed Doosan Doota Duty Free and Doota Mall, established since 1 January.

Park is the driving force behind both enterprises as well as the overall expansion of the Doota retail business. The experienced executive is also the Representative Director of Oricom, a leading advertising agency which has has been the partner of Conde Naste magazines in Korea for the last 20 years.

“With the newly acquired duty free licence, Doosan is revamping the Doota brands to present a “˜wow’ [factor] through different and unique shopping destinations,” Ms Kwon told The Moodie Report.


Doosan might be a new name to those in the travel retail industry but its economic clout and business expertise (mainly in heavy industry) is unquestioned. The powerful chaebol (conglomerate) surprised the Korean travel retail industry last September when it announced it was entering the competition for the Seoul licences, later pulling off a stunning coup by gaining the permit held for so long by Lotte Duty Free.

The retailer will site its first duty free store in the Doosan Tower shopping mall (in front of Dongdaemun Design Plaza), a popular area for tourists.

In early November Doosan signed a memorandum of understanding with 26 major tour agencies in Beijing and Shanghai to attract more Chinese tourists to Korea in anticipation of a successful licence bid.

“Dongdaemun has grown to be a major Korean tourism attraction, visited by 7.1 million foreigners every year,” said Doosan Tower CEO Yongman Cho at the time. “We will try our best to make Dongdaemun a more attractive place to visit among foreign tourists by developing more tourism content and programs such as K-Style Town and night market programmes in affiliation with other businesses in the district.”

Doosan claimed that about 13 million additional tourists will visit Dongdaemun in the next five years if it won a duty free licence. It can now put that claim to the test.

Before plunging headlong into the machinery and heavy industry sectors in the mid-90s, Doosan was associated with several fast-moving consumer goods brands such as OB Beer, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King. It was attracted to the travel retail sector by the huge growth in Korean duty free industry sales and profits in recent years, driven by a sustained boom in Chinese tourism.

As WalkerHill Senior Vice President/Head of Duty Free Division Mikyong Kwon did an outstanding job. Now she will bring all that experience to making Doosan a force to be reckoned with
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