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Shiseido Launching Innovations Fund in China

The fund, to be run with Boyu Capital, will tap into investment opportunities in emerging cosmetics and wellness brands, plus related technology, in the country.

PARIS — Shiseido Co. Ltd. said Thursday that it is launching an innovations fund with Boyu Capital to explore investment opportunities in China’s emerging cosmetics and wellness brands, plus related technology, such as e-commerce.

The fund is expected to be operational this year.

China is in the scope of all major beauty companies today, as the country’s emerging middle class has a keen appetite for skin care, makeup and — most recently — fragrance, as well.

Last year, China became the second-largest beauty and personal-care market worldwide for the first time, trailing the U.S. According to Statista, China generated $70.9 billion in sales in that category in the period, versus the U.S.’s $93.1 billion. Japan took third place, with $38.8 billion.

Fragrance-makers are all flocking to China, which is expected to become the world’s largest market for scent.

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Numerous companies are upping their push in the country through Alibaba’s Tmall. Givaudan and Beiersdorf, for instance, teamed with the platform to create quick-turn products for site’s consumers, based on big data.

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Shiseido in June said it was launching three of its fragrance brands on Tmall: Issey Miyake, Narciso Rodriguez and Serge Lutens.

The Shiseido Beauty Innovations Fund has as its general partner Boyu, while Shiseido acts as the fund’s limited partner.

Shiseido began trading in China in 1981 by importing and selling its products in Beijing. That led to the group expanding its business in the country to include research and development, production and distribution. China is now home to Shiseido’s second headquarters.

The country is a big growth engine for the Japanese group today. Shiseido’s business in China increased 35 percent in the first half of this year versus the same period in 2020.

“Combining Shiseido’s innovation and consumer insights with emerging brands’ new values, the Shiseido Beauty Innovations Fund plans to further meet Chinese consumers’ diversified needs through enhancing the business portfolio in China, steadily strengthening growth in the region as a pillar of the company’s medium to long-term strategy ‘Win 2030 and Beyond,’” Shiseido said in a statement.

Shiseido sees many promising domestic brands emerging in China’s beauty industry. In 2019, it established the China business innovation, or CBI, an investment office in Shanghai. Its mission is to promote innovation in existing activities and new business development.

Shiseido China and CBI especially will work with Boyu to identify target companies.

Boyu was founded in 2011 as an alternative asset management firm and has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. It works with companies in media, technology, consumer goods, retail, financial services and health care.


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