By Yi Whan-woo
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) changed the name of its global selling brand Mild Seven to Mevius in the Korean market, the local branch of the firm said Wednesday.
JTI Korea said that the new name is a part of strategies to increase the sales of the charcoal-filtered cigarette brand beyond Asia. The region has been the biggest market for the product since its 1977 launched.
"The product has been popular mostly in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, and we expect the new name will boost its sales in Europe and Americas in the future," said Park Pyung-kee, general manager of JTI Korea.
He said Mild Seven "played a key role" for the past few years in the global sales increase of JTI, one of the world's three largest cigarette manufacturers along with Phillip Morris International and British American Tobacco.
"And we thought the new name would appeal more to consumers outside Asia," he added.
Korea will be the third country following Japan and Singapore since last year when the firm began to use the new name for the brand.
When asked whether the new name could affect sales of the product, Park said "no."
"Our research shows that the sales of Mevius have remained consistent even after changing its name from Mild Seven, and we believe that will be the case here," he said.
A total of eight Mevius products will be available depending on the amount of tar and nicotine each carries. The cost per pack will remain unchanged at 2,700 won ($2.40).
Mild Seven is one of the six global brands including Winston and Camel that JTI sells. The product has been sold in Korea since 1989.
The Switzerland-based company operates in over 120 countries with about 25,000 employees. Some 20 percent of its revenue, $11.8 billion, came from Asia in 2012.