Many multinational companies simply create a new product or two specifically for the Chinese market. But the Estée Lauder Companies, which already sells 12 of its 28 cosmetics brands in China, is taking that concept further: adding an entirely new brand.
Next month, the cosmetics company, known as the maker of popular brands like Estée Lauder, Clinique and Bobbi Brown, plans to introduce a hybrid East-meets-West beauty line called Osiao (pronounced O-Shao).
The new skin care brand caters to the tastes of consumers in Asia, using the full research and development capabilities of the Lauder company. Osiao’s specialized formulas, for example, contain Chinese plants like ginseng. To communicate the brand’s imported status to consumers, the product names on the bottles are labeled in English. In short, the hybrid brand is a modern mash-up of traditional Chinese medicine and the American science of marketing.
“It will be a brand with a unique position, a brand that will give consumers a sense of being local, of being really dedicated to them,” Fabrizio Freda, the chief executive of the Estée Lauder Companies, said in an interview this month. “Our ambition is for this to be one of the big brands in our Asia portfolio.”
Developed at a company research institute in Shanghai and manufactured in Japan, the cosmetics line is aimed initially at customers in China and is scheduled to go on sale first in select specialty stores in Hong Kong. Osiao is the first beauty brand created under the leadership of Mr. Freda, a former Procter & Gamble executive who joined the Lauder company as president in 2008 and became chief executive the following year. Osiao is part of Mr. Freda’s long-term plan to focus the company’s resources on markets with the greatest growth potential. But persuading Chinese consumers to buy into a wholly new brand created for them by an American company could be much more difficult for Lauder than simply introducing its global best sellers to the Asian market, industry analysts said.