The plastic surgery industry in South Korea is a massive $US 4.6 billion dollar business. Korea is the number one country in the world when looking to the statistics of per-capita with an estimate of husky 15-30% of the Koreans who have found their way under the plastic surgeons knife.
However in China, the cosmetic surgery industry is around $US 48billion dollar business. Chinese tourists travel Korea to get their bodies in more desired shapes. These Chinese plastic surgery tourists are spending roughly $US 60 million dollars per year and the number is getting higher and higher each year. No wonder why many of the Korean plastic surgery clinics have specialized in Chinese tourists.
So why the Chinese tourists choose Korea as their plastic surgery transformation destination instead doing it back home in China or somewhere else?
China has established loads of plastic surgery clinics since 2001 when it became legal to do plastic surgeries purely for cosmetic reasons. The problem is that Chinese people have a little to no trust on their own clinics and doctors while Korea is known to be the Mecca of the plastic surgeries with their high quality doctors and high quality results plus the affordable prices. The prices are actually cheaper back in China but the Chinese people really do not mind paying more when it comes to high quality. (this is kinda ironical in some stage) So naturally Korea is a really good and safe choice for the Chinese tourists.
Korea is gaining loads of reputation amongst Chinese tourists wanting to get under the knife. From all the foreigners going to Korea just for the surgery, roughly 70% are Chinese. Now you might wonder about the language barrier between Korean staff and Chinese patients, but Korean clinics have even taken care of that. It is common that the medical centers have bilingual Chinese staff assisting and translating their patients needs. Clinics make sure the staff is Chinese instead of Korean, even if the Koreans would speak Chinese. Its all about making the patients to feel comfortable and like home with their own fellow countrymen. Since the growing demand, Korean clinics are hiring more staff speaking different languages. Especially Russian speaking staff is a growing trend these days.
Having international patients in Korea is kinda new trend after all. It began back in 2009 when the Korean Ministry Of Health started granting the local clinics official permissions to receive foreign patients. Since that Chinese tourists have been flooding to Korea chasing for the high quality plastic surgeries.
TKO (The Korean Tourism Organization) frequently sets up plastic surgery expos in China, where they have hired K-pop singers and models to perform. They also teach the Chinese women how to do their makeup just like their Korean idols do. And of course, this all does not come without a little trick, there will be a group of doctors giving advice to possible patients looking for a plastic surgery. Such a nice trick to get more Chinese patients.
There is even some Chinese travel agencies which are offering tour packages including few days of sightseeing and shopping combined with a free time to go through the plastic surgery in Seoul, Korea. The bigger part of the vacation goes for plastic surgeries for sure. The price for a 5-days trip is normally priced around $US1000 excluding the surgeries. These are actually really popular tours and Chinese tourists are eager to book these.
The only problem comes when its time to pack bags and head back to home. There is a big conflict looking at your passport photo and comparing it to the view you see from the mirror. The customs officials are not too happy about that since they want to make sure the people match their photos in passports. Luckily the Korean clinics are issuing a so called ”plastic surgery certificate” which includes the patients passport no., length of the stay and information of the hospital where the plastic surgery operation was performed including the info of what kind of plastic surgery it was for sure. This all followed by official seal to make the document certified. This should help the foreign patients to clear the immigration without too much hassle.