×
42 138
Fashion Jobs
MAC
Executive Director, Marketing, Mac, Travel Retail Worldwide
Permanent · New York
BUMBLE AND BUMBLE
Regional Business Consultant, Bumble And Bumble - New York City And Long Island, ny
Permanent · New York
H&M
Data Analyst, CRM
Permanent · New York
H&M
Customer Insights Business Analyst
Permanent · New York
H&M
h&m Retail Visual Manager
Permanent · Elizabeth
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE
Senior Manager, Integrated Marketing
Permanent · New York
L'OREAL GROUP
Account Executive - Sales Skinceuticals (Montgomery, al)
Permanent · Montgomery
ULTA BEAUTY
Salon Manager-Carson Valley Plaza
Permanent · Carson City
ALICE AND OLIVIA
Sales Supervisor - Alice + Olivia Jeans
Permanent · New York
RAG & BONE
Associate Product Manager
Permanent · New York
CANADA GOOSE
Digital Marketing Manager
Permanent · NEW YORK
JCPENNEY
Senior Director, Accounting & Reporting
Permanent · Plano
PUMA
sr. Public Relations Manager – Puma Hoops
Permanent · Boston
L'OREAL GROUP
sr. Manager/ Manager of Maintenance & Facilities
Permanent · Somerset
L'OREAL GROUP
Manager, National Account - Walmart (Hair Color) Mge
Permanent · Bentonville
THE REALREAL
Account Luxury Manager
Permanent · Miami Beach
OLD NAVY
General Manager - Zona Rosa
Permanent · Kansas City
OLD NAVY
Loss Prevention Agent - Eastfield
Permanent · Springfield
RALPH LAUREN
Polo Factory Store - Store Selling Manager
Permanent · Johnson Creek
RALPH LAUREN
Polo Factory Store - Store Selling Manager
Permanent · Branson
COTY
Senior Manager, Performance Digital Media Marketing
Permanent · New York
A & F
Regional Manager of Asset Protection
Permanent · San Francisco

Japan cosmetic giant Shiseido bets on 'Made in Japan'

By
AFP-Relaxnews
Published
today Dec 8, 2019
Reading time
access_time 3 minutes
Share
Download
Download the article
Print
Click here to print
Text size
aA+ aA-

On wasteland once used for earthquake drills in the small town of Otawara north of Tokyo, Japanese giant Shiseido has built its first domestic factory in 36 years, hoping to capitalise on a boom for "Made in Japan" cosmetics.

Despite the highest labour costs, Shiseido is not the only company to bring back production to its home base - AFP


The Japanese cosmetics industry faces huge competition not only from established players such as L'Oreal and Estee Lauder but increasingly also from the "K-beauty" craze coming from South Korea.

Nevertheless, Japan is more than holding its own, with exports nearly quadrupling since 2013 to 546 billion yen ($5 billion), according to finance ministry figures, nearly two-thirds of that going to China and Hong Kong. 

The domestic industry is also benefitting from an explosion of inbound tourism in recent years ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics -- in particular a relaxing of visa requirements for Chinese tourists who lap up the latest Japanese cosmetic fads.

Shiseido chief executive Masahiko Uotani told AFP that a focus on the high end of the market and time-honoured attention to detail set them apart from the foreign brands seeking to dominate globally.

"We are focusing on prestige, premium brands. Consumers in those categories see the value of Japanese culture," said Uotani.

"So strategically, we are telling consumers: those brands are from Japan, it's Japanese R&D. And that is becoming a very important competitive value."

In addition to the new plant in Otawara, Shiseido plans to open two more in Japan before 2022 -- a total investment of 120 billion yen -- the fastest pace of expansion in the firm's 150-year history.

Otawara's mayor said the plot for the new factory had been barren since the 1990 tech bubble burst. "We used to use it to hold exercises to prepare for natural disasters," Tomio Tsukui explained.

The 1,000 jobs it creates will make Shiseido the biggest private employer in the town, Tsukui said, putting it down to a drop in value of the yen that has made relocalising production more profitable.

- 'Sake breweries' -

Norio Tadakawa, Shiseido production manager, has a different explanation. "There are six sake breweries" around Otawara, he says. This is due to the high-quality water around the region -- also a fundamental component in making cosmetics.

The three new Shiseido factories in Japan will feature the latest in Japanese tech -- from advanced robotics to artificial intelligence -- but will also rely heavily on human intervention, especially for the highest-range products.

"Where it's possible we are introducing robots, AI, and digital production capacities. But we still need people, employees that have high craftmanship and skills," said Uotani.

In Otawara for example, while machines fill the bottles, lines of employees in white, blue or pink overalls fix the tops -- there are too many different types of container to automate this process.

Despite the highest labour costs, Shiseido is not the only company to bring back production to its home base. In 2017, Kose Corporation sold its factory in China to boost its presence in Japan.

The gamble on high-cost, high-quality domestically produced goods appears to be working, said Mitsue Konishi, senior innovation analyst at GlobalData.

"With quality ingredients, luxurious formulations, elegant packaging, and craftsmanship, cosmetics with the 'Made in Japan' tag are gaining appeal in Asian and Western markets," she told AFP.

But the flip side of Japanese attention to detail means development times and quality checks take longer, pointed out Shima Yamanaka, analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

"The product timeline of Japanese companies is very long. Safety and quality are high but the product checking takes a long time," she told AFP.

For example, Japanese firm Kao on Wednesday unveiled a "spray-on skin" they claim is the world's first but that took 10 years to bring to market.

Even Shiseido's Uotani admits that the nimble South Koreans have the advantage on this front.

"They are good competitors... They are quite efficient, their development time is quite short, which allows them to be very reactive to the market," he said.
 

Copyright © 2020 AFP-Relaxnews. All rights reserved.