R&D strength continues to propel Italy’s Intercos to the forefront of China’s make-up industry. Since entering China in 2005, Intercos has built a strong reputation in the make-up category. Still, Ms. Wang Yihua, General Manager of Intercos Technology (Suzhou SIP) Co. Ltd, believes that Intercos biggest strength lies in its R&D capabilities.
Intercos has 11 research centers around the world with more than 5,000 employees. China’s research center in China has over 80 researchers and holds more than 10 patents. The China research center also has 30 members on its R&D team. According to Ms. Wang, most make up formulae are imported from overseas, and the local make-up R&D focuses on categories where China products require high levels of localization. These include products such as liquid foundation, air cushion baby cream, eyeliner, and mascara. Given the large differences in Chinese and Western skin characteristics, nearly all formulae for skin care products are developed by the Chinese R&D team.
26 of the world’s top 30 cosmetics companies are Intercos’ long-term partners. Intercos also shares third-party labs with cosmetics leaders like Chanel and Estee Lauder.
Working for the Future of Make-up
The growth in China’s millennial consumers is fueling demand for make-up. Although the category has drawn making manufacturers and brands, the make-up category requires higher levels of expertise and R&D capabilities. Color requirements raise the bar for manufacturers. One lipstick, itself, can have more than 100 colors. It’s common for a make-up product to have over 1000 SKUs.
Compared to the relatively mature skin care market, China’s make-up market is still in its infancy. Brands are still busy educating consumers. As Ms. Wang noted, most make-up companies are starting from scratch in China. This means that they are also developing make-up products from scratch. In the near-term, many are fighting for survival. Intercos China is focused on helping them survive. This means helping clients develop products that meet market needs and also providing them with guidance to survive and thrive in this competitive market.
Intercos works closely with professional research organizations. Each March, Intercos releases color trend forecasts for the next two years as well as its formula research results. The company also shares make-up research with clients and provides guidance based on client’s specific situations. For example, Intercos advises clients on the optimal number of SKUs and how they can focus their product range. As Wang says, “If we only wanted to do business, we would welcome a growing number of orders. However, it’s not what we want. We’re working for the future of the Chinese make-up industry.”
Developing Future Skincare Products
Intercos’s reputation in the make-up category often overshadows its expertise in the skincare segment. Intercos also has a track record of success in anti-aging products. Its R&D capabilities in raw materials and active ingredients are widely recognized across Europe and the US. In China, its R&D center is developing skincare products that can better need Chinese consumer needs. In 2017, skincare already represented nearly 50% of its business volume in China.
The Chinese skincare market has room to grow compared to its European and American counterparts. In addition, young Chinese consumers are looking for greater diversity in basic moisturizing and hydrating products. They are also acutely aware of the need for address early signs of aging. As a result, skin tightening, firming, lifting, anti-oxidant, activating, and regenerating products are now topping skincare brands product lists. For Intercos, this means new development opportunities. Tighter regulation and rising standards in China’s cosmetics markets also makes Intercos’ research strength and expertise in even greater demand.
Intercos’s booth at the 22nd CBE in 2017
Intercos typically releases new formulae four times a year. Each release covers 300-400 varies of make-up and more than 100 types of skincare products. One of Intercos’ releases takes place at China Beauty Expo each May. Learn more about Intercos’ latest innovations. Visit China Beauty Expo, May 22-24, 2018. Register today!