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Super yeast gives Jala leg up in beauty

By WANG YING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-03 10:23
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Shanghai-based Jala Group has successfully developed a super yeast ingredient after nearly a decade of research and development, and the achievement hopes to help the Chinese company exploit the nation's cosmetics market with an expected value of over $100 billion.

The super yeast ingredient is HiMurchaSin, and its research can be traced back more than a decade when Jala Group started to cooperate with Chinese universities and institutes to develop innovative raw materials and later established a microbial fermentation development platform.

For years, Jala gathered thousands of bacteria, fungi and other organisms from natural resources in the Himalayas, and by gene sequencing, the group developed a special strain bank. Based on this, HiMurchaSin successfully developed into a super yeast with strong repair and regeneration characteristics for cells.

The successful development of HiMurchaSin has narrowed the gap in raw materials R&D between domestic beauty companies and foreign enterprises, giving Jala a competitive edge in the cosmetics market.

Raw material innovation, technology innovation and the technology of testing and evaluation are the greatest challenges confronting domestic beauty products, said Zheng Chunying, chairman of Jala Group.

China's cosmetic market has been expanding and the number of consumers has been increasing rapidly in recent years. Data from China Customs show that skincare product imports and exports totaled 217,200 metric tons and 200,700 tons, respectively, in 2021. However, China imported $20.29 billion worth of beauty products in 2021, but only exported $2.5 billion, suggesting there is still a long way to go for domestic cosmetic brands to compete with their international peers, said Intelligence Research Group.

The domestic beauty market is under pressure from raw material prices rising, capacity shortages and insufficient supply, so more and more Chinese beauty brands realize importing raw materials is not a sustainable way to develop, said Zou Yue, general manager of Jala's R&D center.

Jala invests between 3.0 percent and 4.5 percent of its annual sales revenue into R&D every year, and it formed a 150-member R&D team that covers the initial raw material research, formula development and testing for the final product launches for all the product lines, Zou said.

After about 10 years of tireless efforts and investment of millions of yuan, the super yeast ingredient-boasting repair and cellular regeneration functions-was jointly developed by Jala's R&D center and the State key laboratory of microbial metabolism at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2021.The first product that the ingredient was successfully added into was launched in June, Zou said.

"In the future, we expect to apply super yeast into all of our brands."

Euromonitor International said China's beauty and personal care market rose rapidly from $51.03 billion in sales revenue in 2016 to $88.17 billion in 2021, and projects a market scale of $131.93 billion in 2026.

In comparison with the global market which swelled from $456.96 billion in 2016 to $529.13 billion in 2021, consumption in China is relatively small, especially considering its population.

Regardless of their differentiated preferences, anti-aging is one of the most valued functions targeting Chinese consumers, and in order to meet varied requirements, brands should adjust their product strategies accordingly, said Du Lei, associate director of beauty and personal care with Mintel China.

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