Shiseido plans to increase share of Asian cosmetics market

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TOKYO--Shiseido, Japan's largest cosmetics maker, is mounting a drive to push products outside its home market, which accounts for 92% of its more than $3 billion annual turnover. By 2000, the company hopes sales outside Japan will account for 25% of its business.

The company sees its biggest growth in Asia, rather than Europe or the U.S. Currently Shiseido's sales in Asia excluding Japan account for 34% of turnover, a figure the company expect to rise to 40% by 2000.

"Consumers will have higher disposable income and brands which more suit their needs. For southern area [of Asia], the main strength will be placed on whitening and non-oily products," the company said.

Shiseido has been forced to seek growth outside of Japan because its margins there have been eroded by several recent government decisions. In 1995 the Japanese government ruled that Shiseido couldn't block retailers from discounting its product. Earlier this year the Japanese government lifted restrictions on unofficial distributors importing cosmetics.

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