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Estee Lauder to build first Asian plant in Tokyo exurb

Ibaraki lands major brand in drive to attract businesses

Estee Lauder sees its first Asia-Pacific factory helping to swiftly turn out products suited to the regional market. (Photo from Estee Lauder Japan Twitter post)

MITO, Japan -- Estee Lauder Companies, the U.S. cosmetics group, will build its first plant in the Asian-Pacific region in a city 70 km northeast of Tokyo known mainly for its agriculture.

The company will break ground on the new facility next month at an industrial park in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture. Operations are slated to begin in the latter half of 2022.

The factory will boast one of the company's largest production outputs globally, according to Estee Lauder, which has not disclosed the cost of the facility. Equipping the plant with the latest technology, the company aims to quickly turn out products suited for the Asian market.

Estee Lauder has determined that Ibaraki is the best location to establish a Japanese production site, Matthew Growdon, president and general manager of Estee Lauder Companies Japan, said during his visit Tuesday with Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa.

Growdon added that the American group also wants to contribute to job creation in the prefecture and become part of the community.

Matthew Growdon, head of Estee Lauder's Japan unit, touches elbows with Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa on the right Tuesday in Mito, Japan. (Photo by Yukihiro Takefuta)

Shimotsuma not only enjoys proximity to Tokyo, it is close to college campuses that can provide a readily available source of employees. Ibaraki has given particular focus to luring companies with subsidies and support for filing official paperwork.

Oigawa expressed Tuesday his anticipation that the new plant will have a positive impact on the employment of women.

"We will support the hiring of talent and collaboration with related businesses, and we hope to build a lasting and favorable relationship," Oigawa said.

Estee Lauder sells its products in roughly 150 nations and territories across the globe, and operates about a dozen plants in the U.S. and Europe.

The Asia-Pacific is the growth engine for the company, with mainland China delivering double-digit year-on-year increases in sales in the three months ended September.

Nearly all retail stores in the Asia-Pacific were open during the entire quarter, whereas 20% of the stores in the Americas and 15% of the stores in Europe, the Middle East and Africa stayed shut.

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