Marubi Tokyo campaign featuring Chinese actress Zhou Xun

SHANGHAI — Shares of Chinese cosmetics-maker Guangdong Marubi Biotechnology soared on its first day of trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, rising 44 percent to 29.58 renminbi in the first two hours of listing, from its opening price of 20.54 renminbi per share.

The Guangzhou-based company, backed by L Catterton, is aspiring to become a world-class expert in the eye-care category. Marubi has stated the money it raised — totaling 790 million renminbi, or $115 million — will be used to expand its cosmetic business, distribution network and upgrade its IT systems.

L Catterton is having a great year overall when it comes to China. Marubi’s debut comes less than two months after its other investment Mulsanne Group, a Chinese men’s wear manufacturer filed for IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Registered as Guangdong Marubi Biotechnology, the company was founded in 2002 by Sun Huaiqing and became known for its specialized eye cream, before branching into a full-range offering. Sun and his wife Wang Xiaopu, owns more than 80 percent of the shares. Marubi’s Chinese name Wan Mei means well-rounded beauty.

The price range for Marubi products starts at 28 renminbi, or $4, for three sheet masks, and goes up as high as 1,886 renminbi, or $274, for an antiaging set. Its best-selling item, according to Marubi’s Tmall store, is its BB Regenerating Blingbling Eye Cream. More than 6,500 lots were sold in the last 30 days at 138 renminbi, or $20, online.

Earlier this year, the brand introduced a new line called Marubi Tokyo, a collection which is all made in Japan and features a more premium price point. For example, a moisturizer that claims infuse essence from sake distillers’ grains is priced at 598 renminbi, or $87.

L Catterton, previously known as L Capital Asia, acquired 10 percent of Marubi in July 2013. Ravi Thakran, managing partner and chairman of L Catterton Asia, told WWD then the fund admired Marubi’s steady growth in the “masstige” sector and had high hopes for the beauty company’s future prospects.

Over the next five years, total China consumer expenditure in beauty and personal care will grow at a compound average growth rate of 7 percent, according to Mintel’s China reports category director Jessica Jin.

It’s been a bumpy journey for Marubi to go public. It sought approval for an IPO from China’s Securities Regulatory Commission three times in the past five years, with its heavy reliance on distributors and an approach that is big on marketing and small on research and development putting the company under scrutiny. Approval was finally granted on June 14 this year.

Marubi reported turnover of 1.6 billion renminbi, or $233 million, in 2018. It has more than 200 distributors and 14,000 points of sales across China and more than 80 percent of its point of sales are located in lower-tier cities.

L Catterton’s other investments in China also include e-commerce platform Secoo, in partnership with JD.com; Emperor Watch & Jewellery, a Hong Kong-based timepiece and jewelry retailer, now sold; O Luxe Holdings, previously known as Ming Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based jewelry brand; Xin Hee Group, a Fujian-based women’s apparel-maker; Trendy Group, a Guangzhou-based fashion company that terminated its 10 Corso Como China operation in early June, and Mulsanne Group.