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Japanese Beauty Brand BAUM Exits China amid Broader Foreign Business Exodus

Japanese cosmetics brand BAUM, owned by Shiseido, announced its withdrawal from the Chinese market. This move is part of a broader trend of multinational companies leaving China in recent years, extending from manufacturing to the beauty industry.

BAUM’s Tmall flagship store will stop accepting new orders from July 10, and its concept store in Shanghai has already closed. Shiseido cited “strategic adjustment” as the reason for this decision.

Experts attribute this trend to various factors, including China’s “dynamic zero-COVID” policy, difficulties faced by foreign businesses, and the inability to repatriate profits easily. The recent controversy over Japan’s nuclear wastewater discharge has also led to a boycott of Japanese beauty products in China.

Despite these challenges, some Chinese officials continue to welcome foreign investment. The Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology stated that China has lifted all restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing.

However, critics argue that the deteriorating business environment in China is driving foreign companies to relocate to Southeast Asia, India, and even back to their home countries. This exodus includes major corporations like Samsung, Philips, Tesco, Yahoo, Canon, Lotte, and Sony.

The trend reflects broader concerns about China’s economic policies and international relations, potentially impacting its position in global supply chains and its appeal as a market for foreign businesses.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 8, 2024