Kose aims at international markets to exit downturn

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics, United states, Developed country

Kose, one of Japan’s biggest cosmetic and personal care providers, says it will start to focus on developing international markets to counterbalance weaker developed markets.

The company, which is present in all major Asia Pacific markets as well as the United States, says it is most likely to concentrate on the fast-growing China and South Korea markets, together with other developing Asian markets as a means of making up for its weaker performance in Japan.

Over the next year it is aiming to increase sales in these two markets by at least double digit rates, tapping into significant potential based upon the strength of its brands their, combined with market growth.

Fast developing markets

As well as China the company is present in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, which all feature among the fastest developing economies in the Asia Pacific region.

Company president Kazutoshi Kobayashi said that the new strategy was a marked change from its previous focus, but was crucial to ensure that the it could emerge from the current economic conditions as a stronger business.

Currently the company derives approximately 11 percent of its sales internationally, but Kobayashi said in an interview with Asia In Focus that he wants to increase that figure to 15 percent or more by the end of Fiscal 2010.

Building on sales through international focus

At the end of the last fiscal year, 2008, the company had said that it wanted to increase its sales by 12 percent by 2010, to reach JPY200bn ($2.12bn).

Kose has been focusing on capturing a greater share of the international market for some time now, but the latest aims represent a more ambitious target.

In 2008 the company announced a joint venture to import Coty’s Rimmel brand into China, allowing it to manufacture Rimmel branded color make-up products and distribute them throughout the country.

Kose also put in a bid to buy up the cosmetics division of consumers goods manufacturer Kanebo back in 2005, but the bid failed and division was eventually bought out by competitor Kao.

Kose produces a number of globally recognized brands, including the Awake and Sekkisei brands, which are both marketed in the United States.

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