What Happened: On November 7, L’Oréal hosted the first-ever North Asia Beauty Industry Summit during the China International Import Expo (CIIE). The summit was open to industry players, stakeholders, and the general public in China, Japan, and Korea simultaneously in real-time. With a key focus on future beauty through co-creation in technology and innovation, the summit also featured a panel discussion: “The Future of Beauty Powered by Technology and Innovation.”
In his welcome address, President of L’Oréal North Asia & CEO L’Oréal China, Fabrice Megarbane, confirmed the importance of the North Asia region, representing more than one-third of the world’s total beauty market. He stated the purpose of this event was to “bring together the different wisdoms in the region and accelerate technology and innovation through co-creation.”
The Jing Take: Initiated by the Chinese government and now in its fifth year, the CIIE has evolved into a significant platform for facilitating international business and attracts a large number of players annually. By hosting its summit as part of this platform, L’Oréal further shows its dedication to, not only decoding but leading, the North Asian market.
For over 110 years, L’Oréal has been the world’s foremost beauty player, holding 35 brands, 85,400 employees, and a balanced geographical footprint. Since 2021, the group has recalibrated its geographical scope, meaning L’Oréal’s North Asia Zone now comprises five connected markets: mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. This has allowed the multinational to give greater coherence to consumer behaviors and create synergies within the region from its innovation centers in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul. The belt is now the second largest region within the group and accounted for 30.5 percent of global sales in 2021 due to the high concentration of beauty consumers as well as the competitive advantage it has acquired by activating this targeted ecosystem.
L’Oréal identified the latest consumer trends and innovations from what the beauty giant calls the “North Asia Beauty Triangle” (the hallowed intersection of C-beauty, J-beauty, and K-beauty). This ecology is considered by the corporation as the growth engine of future innovation in Green Sciences, AI, digital and health which is vital to new products and experiences. These four new emerging consumer trends were found to be: self-expressive beauty, in which self-expression through color and style is increasingly important in beauty needs — especially for millennials, who look for harmony of colors with youthful and lively feel; supercharged efficacy with beauty solutions inspired by derma-science with high potency; sensorial matters as consumers are increasingly having emotional attachment to scent and beauty rituals; and finally, skinification, when skincare and derma science is inspiring makeup, hair and scalp solutions with new potency and experiences.
All of these novel concepts showcase the company’s deep understanding and positive expectation of the zone. Key innovation breakthroughs echoing these trends are seen in new products like YSL’s Touche Eclat Glow-Pact, Prada’s Paradoxe Fragrance, and Lancôme’s Dual LED Youth Treatment, which is making its Asia debut in this year’s CIIE.
At the summit, speakers included experts from the beauty, AI, and medical sectors as well as institutions like Business France and Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. Guive Balooch, who has spent 15 years as part of the Research and Innovation team at L’Oréal, outlined new diagnostics and cutting edge technologies. One of these, the new Skin Screen, gives a 3D image of a face with all the dimensions of the subject’s skin diagnosis, offering more predictivity about skin health and attributes over time. During the panel discussion, experts called for more cross-market, cross-industry collaboration among multinationals, start-ups, and professionals to bring fresh new ideas, technologies, and innovation to consumers in North Asia.
Megarbane has said that France-headquartered group’s sense of purpose is to create beauty that moves the world. “We believe that together with our partners and stakeholders, we can co-create the future of beauty with game-changing technologies and innovation that truly inspire our consumers in North Asia and beyond,” he added. These are lofty ambitions but if anyone can do it, it’s L’Oréal.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.