The Estee Lauder Companies is tackling the world's largest emerging consumer market head-on with the opening of a new research center in Shanghai, China, this week.
The 857 square-meter center, called The Estee Lauder Companies Innovation Institute, boasts four laboratories, for biology research, treatments, make-up and packaging testing.
Part of its function will be to assess safety and efficacy through clinical studies with research laboratories and hospitals and study the skin's response to environmental stress.
The company's seventh research center and the second largest in Asia, it will operate as part of a global R&D network.
"We are a global company that understands the importance of acting locally. With eight of our brands (Estee Lauder, Clinique, MAC, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Aramis, Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries and Donna Karan) in at least 25 locations in China, investing in market-specific R&D was the next logical step for us," said president and CEO William Lauder in a statement.
Certainly Asia is a key market of Estee Lauder. Its sales in Asia Pacific for full year 2005 were up 8 per cent to US$835 .5 million. It has also indicated that it plans to tailor its globally-sold products to meet the needs of Asian markets and consumers, and has established an advisory panel of experts from Chinese universities and institutes, called the Chinese Dermatologist Expert Panel.
However the center's activities will not be restricted to science. It will also be concerned with marketing, consumer research, and develop raw materials inspired by traditional Chinese medicine.