Byline: Koji Hirano

TOKYO — Shiseido Co., Ltd. is taking aim at the moderately priced beauty business in China.
Hoping to gird its presence in the mid-tier market there, the Japanese cosmetics giant is launching three popular lines from its Fitit cosmetics brand in a number of China’s major metropolitan department stores.
Two of the three collections — a 15-item skin care line called Asplir and a 77-stockkeeping-unit color cosmetics collection called Selfit — has just bowed. Asplir ranges in price from $8.50 to $15.50, and Selfit is priced between $4.75 and $10.75. The third, a 20-sku line of whitening cosmetics called Whitia, will launch in July. A price range for Whitia has not yet been established.
All prices are converted from the yuan at current exchange rates and are for China.
The launch of the trio is part of a Shiseido Group strategy aimed at developing a $135 million wholesale business in China this year. If that goal is met, it would mean growth of 150 percent over last year.
By introducing Whitia, Shiseido is attempting to capitalize on an increase in demand for whitening products that’s expected to be significant in China, the company said.
Favoring the move, according to Shiseido, is “the Chinese economy, [which] has been expanding rapidly, buoyed by globalization and consequent inward investment,” the company stated, adding that “the cosmetics market has grown in line with this expansion.”
Additionally, a rise in spending power has given Chinese consumers an enhanced sense of individuality, according to Shiseido. This is affecting demand in many sectors, not the least of which is cosmetics.
“Growth is likely to continue, underpinned by China’s entry into the WTO and boosted by the Olympics, to be held in China in 2008,” Shiseido stated. “As a result, the cosmetics market is likely to be able to sustain new entrants.”
Fitit, which had been aimed exclusively at Japan’s self-select market — an open-sell type of format devoid of beauty consultants — is being rolled out in China through Shiseido’s Shanghai Zotos Citic Cosmetics Co. Ltd., a marketing arm set up four years ago by Shiseido to focus on China’s growing middle class.
Asplir, Selfit and Whitia will be marketed through dedicated Fitit counters. Plans call for Fitit to be carried in 80 doors in China by yearend.
Shiseido markets prestige lines, including Shiseido, Cle de Peau Beaute, JS and the popular Aupres brand, in roughly 270 of China’s department stores. These brands are marketed via Beijing-based Shiseido Liyuan Cosmetics Co. Ltd, an 11-year-old joint venture between Shiseido and Beijing Liyuan Co., Ltd.

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