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Shiseido to invest, hire more in Singapore with expanded regional hub

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Jean-Philippe Charrier (left), president and chief executive of Shiseido Asia Pacific and Philippe Lesné, president and CEO of Shiseido Travel Retail, toasting at the traditional sake barrel-breaking ceremony as Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido opened new offices in Singapore on Jan 15.

JAPANESE cosmetics group Shiseido plans to invest more in innovation, training and hiring in Singapore, it announced on Tuesday, as it unveiled its expanded regional headquarters in Cecil Street.

Besides Shiseido Asia Pacific's regional head office - which was moved to the Republic in 2016 - the 5,476 square metre (58,943 square foot) office hub also houses global headquarters for Shiseido Travel Retail, and an affiliate office of Shiseido Singapore.

It features a new Asia Pacific Innovation Centre, to develop new products aimed specifically at Asian consumers, as well as a dedicated training facility for beauty business and management skills, which can train as many as 2,000 industry professionals from around the region each year.

Tokyo-listed Shiseido, which has some 250 staff here, also set a target of 130 new hires here by 2020.

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Shiseido declined, when asked, to share the investment amount for the new Singapore offices.

But it has committed to invest 14 billion yen (S$170 million) in talent development across the group until 2020, according to its annual report in June 2018. The set-up of the Asia Learning Centre facility is part of that pledged amount.

Jean-Philippe Charrier, president and chief executive of Shiseido Asia Pacific, said in a statement: "Our new regional headquarters is testament to our solid growth in (the) Asia-Pacific over the past few years and my commitment to our consumers and employees in the years to come.

"I am looking forward to our expanded capabilities in leadership and talent development, innovation and harnessing deeper Asian consumer insights. These will play a critical role in accelerating our growth across the region."

Shiseido's two largest markets for sales are Japan and mainland China, but it has also previously announced plans to build up its footprint in Asean, South Korea and Taiwan.

Shiseido's Asia-Pacific business clocked sales of 51.9 billion yen in the nine months to Sept 30, 2018, or 14.9 per cent more than in the same period the year prior, according to its most recent financial statements. Operating income from the region grew by 6.1 per cent to 7.13 billion yen.

Mr Charrier noted in his opening remarks at the launch that Singapore's proximity to key Asian markets will give Shiseido a better understanding of Asian customers' needs and preferences. The Singapore hub will also host Shiseido's fifth Life Quality Beauty Centre worldwide - an initiative, begun in post-war Japan, that provides make-up to people with severe skin issues such as scarring.

The group's brands range from department store labels, such as Shiseido, bareMinerals, NARS and Laura Mercier, to lower-priced products marketed in pharmacies and general retailers.

Shiseido said in its latest media statement that the new Singapore hub "is part of Shiseido's Vision 2020 corporate transformation, as the company focuses on accelerating growth in the second phase of its medium- to long-term strategy". Mr Charrier also said in his remarks at Tuesday's event that the road map will include a focus on e-commerce.

Shiseido had launched an updated three-year plan in April 2018, with a regional strategy to ramp up the growth of its prestige brands and build a "solid base" for the cosmetics and personal care segment.

"In the Asian market, in addition to prestige brands, we will expand to promote four more brands currently marketed mainly in Japan . . . to the China market and other Asian regions," it said then.