Beiersdorf products from Nivea, Eucerin and La Prairie.

PARIS ­— Beieresdorf AG has opened a new research-and-innovation center in Shanghai in a bid to strengthen its skin-care expertise for China and emerging markets.

The maker of Nivea and La Prairie said Thursday that the center, which measures about 83,330 square feet spread over eight floors, is its largest outside of the group’s headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.

Beiersdorf invested 10 million euros in the new building that’s located in downtown Shanghai and houses approximately 100 employees. Alongside R&I, the center serves as a coworking space for other innovation-related operations and teams. The unit also has a dedicated experience center, created to strengthen contact with end-consumers.

Beiersdorf's R&I center in Shanghai

Beiersdorf’s R&I center in Shanghai.  Courtesy Photo

Skin care is the fastest-growing product category in beauty today, and many multinationals are homing in on increasing their part of that market, especially in Asia, a major driver for the segment and the beauty business’ overall development.

“Beiersdorf intends to significantly expand its growth here in the coming years,” the company said in a statement.

“The opening of the Beiersdorf innovation center in Shanghai is an important milestone in our company’s history. This significant investment in R&D shows a clear commitment to innovation and growth in the region,” said May Shana, corporate senior vice president of research and development and member of the executive committee at Beiersdorf.

“The new location enables us to work closely with consumers, with research institutes and our suppliers, which will help us to develop relevant innovations in a timely manner,” she continued. “The center will serve not only China but also the emerging markets and will be closely connected to the global R&D network, which will enable the exchange of new technological and development insights across the globe.”

For more than 10 years Beiersdorf had been using its R&D facility in Wuhan, China, for local innovation.

Zhengrong Liu, the group’s responsible board member for Northeast China, highlighted in the statement that the center marks the group’s first completion of a major strategic investment since the coronavirus outbreak.

“Using all the positive lessons learned from working together in recent months, we are determined to turn our new center in Shanghai into one of the first showcases that fully embodies the ‘new normal,’ meaning seamless cross-functional and cross-regional collaboration, as well as a high degree of work flexibility determined by the teams themselves.

“This is the only way to fulfill our ambition to be ‘closest to consumers’ in China and in other emerging markets,” he said.

Beiersdorf is the world’s eighth-largest beauty-maker, according to WWD Beauty Inc’s Top 100 ranking. In 2019, the group generated sales of 7.6 billion euros. Its other brands include Eucerin, Labello and Hansaplast/Elastoplast.

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