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L'Oreal targets middle class (2)

By Li Fangfang  (China Daily)

09:30, April 11, 2013

L'Oreal Group, the world's largest cosmetics and beauty company, plans to further develop China's luxury beauty market, seeing huge potential from the next generation of luxury consumers, its rising middle class and smaller cities.

"Chinese consumers are at the heart of L'Oreal's focus and energies. A potential 250 million new Chinese consumers will be using L'Oreal's products in the next 10 to 15 years, making China the No 1 contributor to our ambition of winning 1 billion new consumers," said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and chief executive officer of L'Oreal Group.

"A significant portion of these consumers will be recruited by our luxury brands, the segment where L'Oreal has a long-term lead and where it will continue to influence the shape of its future," he added.

Though L'Oreal's luxury brands account for about one-third of its total business in China at the moment, "we see huge potential from the rising middle-class and consumption power in lower-tier cities", said Agon.

The French company operates in more than 170 cities in its third-largest market. By adding its Yves Saint Laurent Beaute brand next month to its current portfolio of 10 brands available in China, L'Oreal hopes to enhance its luxury portfolio to meet the needs of Chinese women and men across age, economic and lifestyle categories.

"Thus we can offer luxury beauty products for all generations at all price ranges to Chinese consumers," said Agon. "The luxury brands business will for sure work to make China our largest market in the world someday."

According to Nicolas Hieronimus, president of L'Oreal Luxe, the company's luxury product business doubled every four years during the past eight years in China.

"We hope to keep the pace and in 2014 or late 2015, we expect Chinese consumers will be our No 1 group in the world," said Hieronimus. "It is just a beginning, and is set to boom."

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