When it comes to skin care, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s compass is pointed East.

This story first appeared in the June 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Thursday, the beauty firm opened the Estée Lauder Cos. Asian Innovation Center in Shanghai. The center nearly doubles the size of Lauder’s original lab located at the same site to roughly 18,000 square feet.

Lauder’s president and chief executive officer Fabrizio Freda, who was on hand at the opening, stated, “Chinese consumers have very high standards regarding their skin care and serve as an inspiration to us in developing world-class products specifically tailored to Chinese and Asian skin. We are bringing to China the best technologies from the U.S. and combining them with top Chinese scientists and researchers.” He added, “Through this collaboration, we are gaining critical consumer insights in China, closest to the most demanding consumers who have the highest expectations for beautiful skin and sophisticated, innovative skin care regimes. As a result, we will be able to create even better products for consumers in China and around the world.”

Joining Freda at the opening were Harvey Gedeon, executive vice president, research and development; Cedric Prouvé, group president, International; Fabrice Weber, president, Asia Pacific; Carol Shen, general manager, and Jing Cheng, senior director, research and development in China.

“Skin care represents two-thirds of prestige beauty in China. To have a facility right in the heart of this very important region — a region particularly focused on high-performance products and safety — will drive our creativity on all levels,” stated Shen.

The center also will house Lauder’s Green Chemistry program, which is focused on making products more environmentally sustainable. The program, according to Lauder, examines the full life cycle of a product from conception to the end user and beyond, and includes an emphasis on energy conservation, waste reduction and limiting the amount of ingredients in product formulas.

Lauder first entered China in 1993 and opened its first research lab there in 2005. It currently sells the following brands in China: Estée Lauder, Clinique, La Mer, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Aramis, Origins and the licensed brands Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan.

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