TOKYO Shiseido said Thursday it has established a new Dubai-based joint venture with its existing Middle East distributor to import and market beauty products in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Shiseido’s French subsidiary Shiseido International Europe will control 51 percent of the new joint venture while Creation Alexandre Miya Paris Limited, which already sells Shiseido products in these markets, will hold the remaining 49 percent.

The new joint venture, called Shiseido Middle East FZCO, will start operating in January of next near.

Shiseido said it wants to make a direct investment to expand its presence in the highly affluent Middle East region. It estimates that the high-end cosmetics market of the seven countries combined totaled 150 billion yen in 2012. That’s $1.54 billion at current exchange rates.

The Japanese company started doing business in the region in 1970 and linked up with Creation through a distribution deal in 1997.

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“While fragrances account for a major portion of the high-end cosmetics market in the Middle East region, Shiseido managed to establish a presence with its signature skincare products, which are now marketed at 140 stores in the region,” Shiseido said, adding that initially the joint venture will focus its efforts on growing the presence of the global Shiseido brand before possibly bringing over new brands or products to the region.

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