The company said that the decision reflects the significant advances it has made in the Indian market in the last few years and will bring it closer to the customer base it has now established there. The move falls in line with the company's philosophy to move into markets where there is high growth and demand, a direction that has continued to drive the growth of its market share in recent years. Chasing health and wellness In particular it wants to tap into the market for health and wellness, a trend that is currently fueling significant growth in the Indian cosmetics market. The focus of the Indian office will be to liaise with the company's three core areas: care chemicals - which largely supplies the cosmetic and personal care industry; nutrition and health; together with functional products. Secondary to that it will also be used to analyse market trends, strengthen connections with Indian companies, assess local manufacturing possiblities and liaise with universities and institutes for R&D opportunities. The company said that its existing sales activities in India will continue to be supported by its local distributors and international key account managers from the company's headquarters in Germany. Greater understanding of the Indian market "The liaison office will help us to understand the Indian market even better, and anticipate developments there at an earlier stage," said Goutam Bhattacharya, head of the new Mumbai office. "The direct accessibility will further enhance our customers' confidence and help us give them the competitive edge they need to succeed - and, of course, enable us to grow our business in India," he added. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) predicts that the cosmetics market will grow from $950m to $1.4bn in the next 2-3 years, which would bring India's per capita expenditure up to that of China's. Likewise, India has been cited as one of the most important emerging markets in the Asian region, with a 12.6 per cent increase in personal care sales revenue in 2006, according to a report from market research company Kline. Kline currently predicts increasing market sophistication as Indian consumers become more influenced by Western tastes.