"It's never been more challenging, and there never have been more opportunities for brands to stand out and keep pace with their consumers,” Gerard Raymond told China Daily recently.
Despite the challenges, Raymond asserts that Asia, in his view, is the key market driving the rate of innovation and growth for beauty globally, noting: "Asian beauty is now setting the pace for the world. China, South Korea, Japan as well as the entire Southeast Asian market are very important for us, representing about 4.5 billion in population.”
According to the company head, meeting the demands of this enormous consumer base takes domestic-level insight, which LF Beauty believes is best gained through partnerships with local suppliers and third parties.
China loves K-beauty
One of the key opportunities, Raymond says, lies in the rising demand among China’s consumers for K-beauty products; the challenge with this, he believes, is for Korean brands to act with insider knowledge of the Chinese market.
"We have seen that Chinese women now are very interested in beauty products from South Korea," he said. "In this respect, we have already established a joint venture in South Korea,which allows us to transfer their knowledge to Chinese market directly and serve the demands of local consumers."
Indeed, according to the Korean International Trade Association, Korean companies accounted for 22.1% of China's imported cosmetics in 2015, closing the gap with its French rivals whose combined market share was 30.6 per cent.
The Trade Association reports that in the first seven months of the year, China's imports of foreign cosmetics products rose 36.1% to $1.67 billion.
‘High quality and safe’
AmorePacific and other local cosmetics makers exported goods worth a combined $370.8 million to China in that period, up 250.6 per cent from the same period last year.
"Korean beauty products are perceived as high quality and safe, which greatly helps us do business on the mainland," a company spokesperson explained.