Brand story: Top news on the big-name beauty brands across APAC

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kao releases new products based on fine-fibre tech. ©Kao Corp
Kao releases new products based on fine-fibre tech. ©Kao Corp

Related tags: Shiseido, Kao, L'oréal

We round up of our most-read brand-related stories of the region, featuring Kao Corp, Shiseido Group, L'Oréal Group and more.

1 – ‘Fine fibre’ first: Kao to release first cosmetic products based on skin hydration technology

Japanese cosmetics maker Kao Corporation will launch the first products based on its new ‘fine-fibre’ technology​ in its domestic market from December 4, with an international roll-out following in early 2020.

Kao Corporation first announced the development of its fine fibre technology in 2018.  This technology creates a very thin and invisible layer of film on the skin and acts as a moisture barrier to keep skin hydrated.

Kao claimed that this membrane allows for quick and even application of cosmetic products. Additionally, it is able to retain products and moisture while allow skin to breathe.

The company worked with technology company Panasonic to develop a handheld diffuser device which consumers can use in the comfort of home. This dispenser uses electrospinning technology to create the film.

The company will first launch fine-fibre technology products under its brands est and Sensai as a night time skin care treatment.

2 – Thermal power: Shiseido plans to release new sun care products which strengthen with heat

Shiseido plans to release improved sun care products that incorporate its newly discovered technology, which claims to reinforce sun protection with thermal energy generated from the sun.

According to the Japanese cosmetic maker, sunscreen formulas are most effective when they are molecularly uniform. This led it to research methods of creating an even layer of protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays on the skin.

In order to achieve uniformity, the company’s research and development team successfully developed a UV protection technology which evens out when exposed to the sun’s heat.

According to the company’s research, the surface temperature of the skin can hit 40°C in a matter of minutes. To utilise this “heat energy”, ​it developed a thermal energy sensor which starts to work when the skin surface temperature pushes 37°C.

“When the thermal energy sensor senses heat, it spreads uniformly in the coating film along with UV protection components and maintains a clean state. This way, the UV protection component can fully demonstrate its ability and the UV protection effect is improved,” ​the company explained.

3 – L'Oréal invests in VC fund to strengthen ties with beauty tech start-ups in China

L'Oréal has made a strategic investment in global venture capital fund Cathay Innovation to reinforce its connection to the beauty tech start-up ecosystem​, particularly in China.

The investment was made through the group’s venture capital fund, BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development, which was launched in December 2018.

The fund invests in new business models in marketing, R&I, digital, retail, communication, supply chain and packaging and provides start-ups with L'Oréal's expertise and networking. Through it, the firm has backed beauty start-ups such as Sampler, Tailify, Riviter and Alegra.

Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership founded by Cathay Capital that invests in digital start-ups in North America, Europe and China.

Through the partnership with Cathay Innovation, L'Oréal hopes to support innovative Chinese beauty tech start-ups during their growth phase.

4 – Playing games: J&J-owned Dr. Ci:Labo ramps up travel retail presence to attract more Chinese consumers

Japanese skin care label Dr. Ci:Labo is tapping into travel retail with a virtual interactive game​ targeted at Chinese consumers travelling in South Korea.

The game, which is exclusively available in South Korea, can be accessed via Weibo, WeChat and CTrip. It features Chinese celebrity and brand ambassador Liu Yuning and an animated character Dr. Rabbit as they journey though South Korea to “solve pore issues”.

Users can collect points by solving these puzzles and redeem special gifts including a limited-edition bottle signed by Liu Yuning, at selected Korean duty free locations operated by Shinsegae Duty Free, Lotte Duty Free, Doota Duty Free, HDC Shilla Duty Free and Hyundai Department Store.

Sandrine Tesnière, head of marketing, media and digital travel retail Johnson & Johnson told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that it chose to roll out the campaign in South Korea as it still remains a hot destination for Chinese tourists.

“Dr. Ci:Labo has a strong business presence in South Korea, and Chinese consumers continue to travel significantly to that destination. Chinese inbound traffic to Korea was up 28% YTD August vs. last year. So, it made sense to support our retail partners in Korea with this initiative.”

5 – Shiseido expects full-year sales to dip by as much as $275m due to market uncertainties

Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido is revising its full-year forecast due to the increasingly challenging business environment​ in several markets.

Michael Coombs, CFO of Shiseido, said during the company’s third quarter presentation that the company was anticipating sales to dip by 25 to 30 billion yen from its previous forecast citing the weak market conditions in Hong Kong, South Korea and the US.

“External challenges that we have identified include FX, growing market uncertainties stemming from US-China trade friction, and sales decreases in Hong Kong and South Korea. Our Japan Business has also been adversely affected by unfavourable weather and other factors.”

However, Coombs noted that the company is still working towards its original target.

“We have not given up on achieving our original target of 120 billion yen in operating profit. We will strengthen our long-term marketing investments, but at the same time we will coordinate with each region to improve cost efficiency in response to the business environment and strive to improve marketing ROI.”

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