Japan focus: Our top stories featuring Japan’s cosmetics industry

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan. ©GettyImages
We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan. ©GettyImages
We round-up of our most-read news pieces on Japan, featuring Shiseido’s new ingredient, Welcia-BHG’s expansion plans for Singapore, FREEPLUS’s ASEAN ambitions and more.

1— ‘Perfect balance’: Shiseido unveils new ingredient that combines richness and comfort

Japanese beauty giant Shiseido claims to have developed a water-soluble polymer that gives “unprecedented” skin comfort.

The company said it took about six years to finally achieve a water-soluble polymer that was rich in texture yet non-sticky and comfortable on the skin.

The new ingredient was presented at the 84th The Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan (SCCJ) Research Discussion held in Osaka, Japan this month.

Designing for comfort

A polymer is a general term for a chain-like or network-like compound in which a large number of molecules called monomers are linked and expresses various functions depending on its chemical   physical structures.

In cosmetics, it can serve as a thickening agent to fine-tune the feel, uniformly disperse emulsified particles. It is also used in powders and coatings in products such as hair styling gels.

2 – Japanese drugstore Welcia-BHG outlines five-year expansion plan for Singapore market

Japanese drugstore retailer Welcia-BHG is planning to open another 29 outlets in the next five years,​ beginning with another two this year in Singapore’s downtown core.

Welcia-BHG Singapore is a joint venture between AEON-owned Welcia Holdings and Chinese retailer Beijing Hualian Group (BHG).

It is the second overseas joint venture for Welcia Holdings, which previously expanded its drugstore business into Shanghai, China under the brand Sakura Kobo.

Steady and stable growth

Since expanding into Singapore in 2017, the company has been experiencing steady growth. It’s first two outlets have seen 20% yoy growth and its latest outlet in downtown Singapore has been performing very well.

“It’s been less than a month since opening in Suntec City and it has been successful. We are very satisfied,”​ said Masato Ishii, director of Welcia-BHG Singapore.

3 – Kao plots the next step in FREEPLUS global expansion with ASEAN launch

FREEPLUS is set to make its debut in Thailand this September, as part of the Kao Corporation’s strategy to globalise the brand.

The brand will debut in Thailand with 19 SKUs from the moisture care line. The range will be available online and offline. Its main channel will be Japanese drugstores, a quickly expanding retail channel in Thailand with a large consumer base of J-beauty fans.

The Japanese firm said it planned to build on the brand’s strong position in China, where it is positioned as a derma brand for sensitive skin.

According to the company, the launch in Thailand is the prelude to its ASEAN expansion and the next step its globalisation plans.

The company added that it would follow its Thailand expansion by launching Myanmar this October.

4 – Asia propels Kosé: Double-digit growth in Asia leads to record-high sales for Japan brand

Kosé Group sales in Asia grew​ by 38.4% to ¥ 14.9bn ($137.2m) because of the demand for prestige beauty and the growth of the travel retail channel and e-commerce in China.

In the three months ending June 2019, Kosé’s sales were higher in almost every Asian country and region where it enjoys a presence. This, it added, was in spite of the economic slowdown in the region.

The strength in Asia reinforced Kosé’s performance, net sales grew 1.6% to ¥81.7bn ($752.5). Its operating profit fell by 24.2%.

However, the company claimed that expenses for aggressive marketing activities caused its earnings to decrease.

5 – Global demand pressing Singaporean beauty brand RE:ERTH to expand internationally

Singaporean beauty brand RE:ERTH is poised for global expansion as more beauty consumers prioritise product efficacy above other factors​.

The Singaporean-based skin care brand follows Japanese philosophies and principles of skin care – one of which is meticulous Japanese craftsmanship.

“Building a brand and good effective products takes time. Before we launched, we were working on it for about two years, a short time in my eyes for product development​,” said CEO Shinji Yamasaki, whose family is in the skin and health business in Japan.

The brand was launched in 2017 but research on its hero-ingredient, Japanese White Turmeric, has been ongoing for around 18 years in partnership with Kindai University.

“We have been researching this turmeric for a very long time. We've done a lot of research, we know what are our turmerics are and we were able to patent it. It also only grows on our farm in Japan, so you literally cannot get it anywhere else in the world,”​ said Yamasaki.

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