L’Oréal launched its North Asia Big Bang Beauty Tech & Innovation Challenge on 15 June in Paris at Viva Technology, Europe's biggest startup and tech event. The North Asia Big Bang Program is the first regional open innovation platform focused on driving the co-development of new beauty products and experiences across China, South Korea and Japan’s influential beauty markets. Winning entrants of the program will receive support incubating their forward-looking innovations and accelerating market process.
In South Korea, L’Oréal will partner with the country’s Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) to support promising startups in the fields of beauty devices, beauty tech, skin diagnosis and delivery systems that deploy digital and artificial intelligence technologies.
In Japan, rolled out in partnership with J-Startup and Hello Tomorrow, the initiative will leverage Japan’s strengths in biotechnology and environmental-friendly technologies, to focus on sustainable beauty and green sciences.
L’Oréal had piloted the Big Bang Program for three years in China, during which time it worked with 1,500 Chinese startups and incubated more than 50 projects.
Commenting on the expansion of the program to South Korea and Japan, Barbara Lavernos, Deputy L'Oréal Group CEO in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology, said: “At L’Oréal, we embrace and nurture innovation, and believe in open innovation through partnerships. Therefore, we work with innovative start-ups, small and medium businesses, institutions and governments to inspire and be inspired. The signing of a memorandum of understanding with Korea’s MSS is a significant milestone for L'Oréal’s journey in leading open innovation in North Asia. We are excited to collaborate with startups from China, Korea, and Japan through the Big Bang Program, and to scale up creativity and innovation from North Asia globally.”
The Jing Take
The group’s latest announcement is a major step in the North Asia “Beauty Triangle,” accelerating open innovation in the unique and dynamic C-J-K (China-Japan-Korea) beauty ecosystem.
L’Oréal’s North Asia Zone – composed of Hong Kong, Japan, Mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan – was established in 2021 and accounted for 29.6% of the group’s global sales last year.
Driven by its research and innovation centers in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul, L’Oréal’s attempt to leverage the unique strengths and synergies of North Asia’s markets across the private-public sectors in science, technology and market innovation is a bold but advantageous move.
From Korea’s global influence through pop culture and beauty tech, to China’s fast-paced, fast-changing consumers and high degree of digitalization, to Japan’s focus on sustainable beauty and green sciences, this new platform enables the ecosystem to more efficiently translate consumer trends, support collaborations and scale innovations globally.
Fabrice Megarbane, President of North Asia Zone & CEO of L'Oréal China, said: “North Asia is the most dynamic beauty market in the world. Leveraging the unique ‘Beauty Triangle’ innovation ecosystem and our strong research and innovation expertise in China, South Korea and Japan, we believe the Big Bang Program in North Asia will unleash the power of co-creation through open innovation on disruptive beauty solutions with start-ups and partners across China, South Korea and Japan. Let’s inspire the world with innovations from North Asia to create the beauty that moves the world.”
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