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Estée Lauder’s NIV makes minority investment in China’s Code Mint

Estée Lauder Companies’ investment division, New Incubation Ventures (NIV), revealed its minority investment in Code Mint, a clean beauty brand from China.

SEE ALSO: Estée Lauder APAC sales up 4 percent, held back by Asia travel retail

Terms of the minority stake purchase were not disclosed. The acquisition marks NIV’s debut in the Chinese market, which is the largest market for skin care and second largest for colour cosmetics, with a combined market size of USD 49 billion in 2022, according to Euromonitor.

Launched in 2021, Code Mint is owned by Hangzhou Jianfa Meixue Technology, a company founded by Chinese influencer Grace Chow, who has more than 2.2 million followers on Instagram and over 11 million on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

According to Chinese media, NIV made the investment several months ago, but Estée Lauder only formalised it last week, via a post on NIV’s Instagram account.

“From the brand’s notability as NIV’s first investment in China to the continued value the Code Mint team has created over the course of our partnership, NIV is excited about Code Mint’s vision and future, and proud of the brand’s success so far,” the post read.

Founded in 2021, NIV is the strategic early-stage investment and incubation arm for The Estée Lauder Companies. The arim acquired a stake in British skincare brand Haeckels in February last year, before taking a stake in perfume brand Vyrao in April this year.

For fiscal 2023, the New York-based Estèe Lauder company said organic net sales fell 6 percent, primarily driven by Asia travel retail in Hainan and Korea, partially offset by growth in nearly every market in both Asia Pacific, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In Asia Pacific, net sales increased 4 percent, with growth increasing to 36 percent in the fourth quarter from 7 percent in the third quarter, reflecting double-digit growth in most markets and increases in every product category as markets recovered from eased Covid-related restrictions compared to the prior year.