France’s L’Oréal has taken a minority stake in Chinese biotech firm Shinehigh Innovation, as the beauty giant looks to co-develop both novel and sustainable beauty solutions for future products.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 2017 by professor Jiaheng Zhang, Shinehigh Innovation specialises in supramolecular chemistry. Its smart self-assembling technology promotes the combining of previously impossible ingredient, resulting in end-products with greater efficacy and sustainability.
As a result of the partnership, L’Oréal is looking to overcome known limitations such as incompatibility, instability and delivery, to develop innovative skin, hair and scalp formulations.
“I am delighted to cooperate with L’Oréal Groupe, a global leader in the beauty industry,” said Zhang.
“We have jointly conducted research on the supramolecular development of multiple active raw materials in the fields of skincare, makeup, hair care, and hair coloration. This is of great significance for the industrialisation and landing of cutting-edge supramolecular technology. We look forward to exploring more possibilities in raw material research and development, application, and global market development together.”
This is L’Oréal’s first open innovation investment in China through Shanghai Meicifang Investment Co., with the support from BOLD (Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development), L’Oréal Groupe’s innovation venture capital fund company.
“The fast paced and unique ecosystem of startups in China is an incredibly important enabler of our future strategy of innovation at L’Oréal,” said Barbara Lavernos, deputy CEO of L’Oréal Groupe in charge of research, innovation and technology.
“This is why we are extremely excited to pursue this new investment and partnership with one of these highly innovative Chinese biotech startups: Shinehigh. This partnership which will enable us, thanks to their world-leading application of supramolecular technology in the beauty industry, to bring breakthrough new performances to the beauty market.”
It is also the first investment from L’Oréal’s Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Challenge, launched four years ago in China.
“We have long-term confidence in the Chinese market,” said Fabrice Megabarne, president of L’Oréal North Asia zone and CEO of L’Oréal China.
“After 25 years’ development, China has become the Groupe’s inspiration cradle of future innovation. Under our firm belief in co-creation, we initiated Big Bang four years ago, and founded L’Oréal China’s investment company Meicifang last year. I am so thrilled to see all our efforts have harvested fruits today: investing in Shinehigh Innovation our 2022 Big Bang winner. Now Big Bang has been extended to the North Asia xone, and we expect to invent the future of beauty with more partners for North Asia and the global beauty market.”
In its most recent trading update, L’Oréal first-half sales totalled EUR 220.57 billion (USD 242.88 billion), up 13.3 percent like-for-like and up 12 percent on a reported basis, with sales up double-digits in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, while remaining flat in North Asia.