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The State of Asian Beauty

Asian skin-care brands are strongly outperforming their Western counterparts in the Chinese market. Meanwhile, Japanese beauty companies are targeting young women.

Japan’s Youth Quake

Japanese beauty companies are setting their sights on younger women, rolling out new brands targeting digitally savvy and trend-conscious consumers. Competition is intensifying in Japan as the country ages, the size of its population shrinks and new brands, especially those hailing from South Korea, flood the marketplace.

In September, Shiseido launched a makeup artist-inspired brand called Playlist aimed at women in their 20s and 30s. The fashion-oriented brand, which will primarily be sold online through the Japanese company’s own web site and third-party sites, draws on makeup artists’ experiences backstage at runway shows and photo shoots.

Shiseido unveiled its plans for the new brand at the same time it revealed that it has replaced Maybelline as the new cosmetics sponsor of Tokyo Fashion Week, another sign it is reaching out to the fashion set.

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Playlist launched with 14 products and new winter items will be released in November. Prices range from 2,500 yen, or $24.50, for lipsticks, to 5,500 yen, or $54, for a serum. Other products in the range include cleanser, toner, cream, foundation, mascara and cream cheek color.

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In a similar move, Kosé this summer introduced a makeup line called Visée Avant that targets younger women looking for sophisticated, fashion-forward products at affordable prices. The range, which includes 20 shades of eye shadow singles, four shades of lip tint and 20 shades of nail polish, sells primarily at drug stores.

The brand is an offshoot of the company’s existing Visée product range. Prices range from 500 yen, or $4.78, for a nail polish to 1,300 yen, or $12.43, for the lip tint. — Amanda Kaiser

Consumers Prefer Local Brands

Asian skin-care brands are strongly outperforming their Western counterparts in the Chinese market, according to new research from Mintel.

For its “Facial Skincare 2016” report, Mintel conducted an online survey of 3,000 Internet users in China ages 20 to 49. The research shows Chinese brands such as Pehchaolin Daily Chemical Co. and Shanghai Shangmei Cosmetics Ltd. growing their market share after both companies invested heavily in marketing and distribution channels.

“More importantly, consumers have realized local brands are [a] better value for the money than most of the international brands,” according to the report.

South Korean brands continue to dominate the playing field, Mintel concluded. According to the survey, 33 percent of consumers said they had purchased South Korean skin care more often than any other kind in the past six months. Chinese domestic brands were the second most purchased, at 23 percent, followed by Japanese brands at 18 percent, and French brands at 11 percent.

Facial masks have climbed the product popularity ladder over the past few years to be the second-most-used product in the last six months for the 3,000 consumers surveyed, trailing only facial cleaners.

China’s facial skin-care market was worth more than 91 billion yuan, or $13.65 billion, by the end of 2015, up 11.5 percent on the year. Mintel forecasts the market will grow to almost 158 billion yuan, or $23.7 billion, over the next five years. — Casey Hall

AmorePacific Keeps Growing

South Korean beauty giant AmorePacific has just launched two of its brands in China and Malaysia as part of its aggressive international expansion plan.

In July, AmorePacific launched its Hera brand in mainland China by opening two counters in Beijing at the Shin Kong Place and Hanguang department stores. The company said the brand, which is known for its cushion skin-care products and moisturizing lipstick formulas, already has a following with Chinese consumers, as they account for 67 percent of Hera’s duty-free sales in South Korea. AmorePacific said it will open six more Hera counters in China by the end of the year and sell the brand online.

Also this summer, AmorePacific opened its first counter in Malaysia for its flower-inspired Mamonde brand. The counter, located at Aeon 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, sells the brand’s range of skin care, makeup and baby products. It also features an aromatherapy area. Three more counters are slated to open in the country by the end of the year.

AmorePacific chairman and chief executive officer Suh Kyung-Bae is gunning to make the Seoul-based company Asia’s largest beauty player, stealing that title from Japan’s Shiseido. For fiscal 2015, AmorePacific posted a 51.8 percent jump in net profit to 584.8 billion won, or $528 million, and a 23 percent jump in sales to 4.77 trillion won, or $4.31 billion. — A.K.

Harvey Nichols Spruces Up In Hong Kong

The Harvey Nichols store in Hong Kong’s Central district has just reopened with a fresh, new look and an expanded beauty offering.

The changes to the store — one of two the British chain runs in Hong Kong — come just a few days before the crucial Golden Week sales period. The week-long holiday for mainland Chinese started Oct. 1.

The entire department store was shut down over the summer and underwent refurbishment, but the most prominent change of the new space is the beauty section, which has doubled in size. While it once occupied the basement, beauty labels now take up the first and second levels of the store.

Harvey Nichols said it has added more than 30 new makeup and skin-care brands, including La Mer, Tom Ford and Addiction, the Japanese line created by makeup artist Ayako. It also has an in-store salon, Nail & Lash by Per Face, which can pamper customers on the spot. — Tiffany Ap