The company, a joint-venture of the France-based Dermscan Group - a pre clinical and clinical testing company focusing on the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries - has moved to the new facilities in order to provide a more extensive range of product tests. Specific features of the Asian market, such as a high number of skin lightening and UV protective products, will be better catered for with the improved testing facilities, says the company. The new laboratories enable the company to offer a wider variety of tests to investigate the safety and efficacy of cosmetic products and ingredients, as well as being designed to receive larger numbers of volunteers for consumer tests. Growing South East Asian market According to Dermscan, the Asian cosmetics market offers outstanding potential, illustrated by the number of leading players who are currently doing business in the area. Consumers in this market are eager for innovation and use significantly more products (16 to 18 products a day for Japanese women in comparison to 5 or 6 for Europeans), according to the company, making the market even more dynamic. Furthermore, the company observed a particularly high growth rate for male cosmetics in the region, explaining their recruitment of a significant number of male volunteers for their testing panel (20 percent of their 3000 strong testing panel). In South Korea, for example the male cosmetics market is particularly strong having seen 61.7 per cent sales growth between 2001 and 2006 (Euromonitor) from a relatively small base of $397m. Skin Whiteners Dermscan Asia tests both Asian products to be marketed in the Asian zone, and products destined for Asian consumers internationally. According to the company, this consumer base requires 'specific product ranges meeting the wishes, needs and habits of local populations, very different from those found in the West'. In particular, Dermscan notes the popularity of skin whiteners and UV protective products as fashion dictates the popularity of the porcelain complexion. According to Euromonitor, in order to take advantage of the whitening trend many personal care products such as deodorants now contain skin whiteners, suggesting further specificity of the Asian cosmetics market.