Shiseido CEO explains why the cosmetics giant buys start-ups

Shiseido, one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, isn’t relying on its reputation alone for business success.

Instead, the 146-year-old Japanese firm is looking to combine the knowledge of start-ups with the its own extensive experience, the company’s chief told CNBC on Friday at the annual Singapore Summit.

“Everybody is looking at, you know, new fronts of businesses. Yes, so we are in competition,” said Shiseido CEO Masahiko Uotani.

The company has over the past few years acquired start-ups, including Olivo Laboratories, which developed “second skin technology” that creates nearly invisible artificial skin. Another acquisition was Giaran, a start-up with artificial intelligence technology to enable consumers on their phones or computers to virtually remove and apply makeup, The Japan Times reported.

Uotani was quick to note that simply acquiring start-ups with cutting edge technology was not enough for businesses to do well, but it was important to combine expertise that each party could bring to the table.

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