Shiseido buying up tech start-ups

Japanese personal care company Shiseido has started buying up tech companies as a gambit to cater to a younger generation of buyers.

Shiseido last year sold ¥1 trillion (US$9.3 billion) worth of beauty products last year, mostly in traditional stores. However, CEO Masahiko Uotani says consumers in their teens and 20s often prefer to shop online, which is why the brand is seeking to invest in expertise in such technologies as artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Uotani’s ambition is to help shoppers replicate online the experience of trying on cosmetics in a store, and use data from smart devices to create personalised make-up for customers, reports The Japan Times.

He says the younger generation does not often go into stores. “The way they buy, the way they share their excitement with their friends, is completely different from older generations.”

Shiseido has already acquired for an undisclosed sum of the R&D team and other assets of Olivo Laboratories, a US start-up specialising in artificial skin technology, and earlier bought MatchCo, a California start-up that develops software customers can use with their smartphones to create customised foundation products matching their skin tones.

Another acquisition has been Giaran, a startup that develops AI technology.


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