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L’Oréal Invests in Chinese Biotech Company Shinehigh Innovation

Published September 25, 2023
Published September 25, 2023
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L’Oréal has agreed to take a minority stake in Shinehigh Innovation, an innovation-led biotech company that specializes in supramolecular chemistry, making its first open innovation investment in China.

WHO: Shinehigh Innovation, founded by scientist Jiaheng Zhang in 2017, specializes in cutting-edge supramolecular chemistry. Its breakthrough smart self-assembling technology allows previously impossible ingredient combinations, resulting in end products with greater efficacy and sustainability.

Founded 110 years ago, L'Oréal has a broad portfolio of 35 international brands and ambitious sustainability commitments, with 85,400 employees, a balanced geographical footprint, and sales across all distribution networks (e-commerce, mass market, department stores, pharmacies, hair salons, and branded and travel retail). In 2021, the Group generated sales amounting to 32.28 billion euros. With 20 research centers across 11 countries worldwide and a dedicated Research and Innovation team of over 4,000 scientists and 3,000 tech professionals, L'Oréal is focused on inventing the future of beauty and becoming a beauty tech powerhouse.

Shanghai Meicifang Investment Co., Ltd (Meicifang) is L'Oréal’s first investment company in a single market founded apart from the headquarter region. The core of this corporate venture capital fund is to invest in the future of beauty and to cooperate with more Chinese partners and talents, with priorities being C-beauty brands, beauty tech, value chain/operation, future science, and sustainability.

BOLD (Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development) is a corporate venture capital fund aiming to take minority stakes in innovative companies and brands with high growth potential. The fund invests in new business models in marketing, R&I, digital, retail, communication, supply chain, and packaging, and provides start-ups with L’Oréal’s expertise, networking, and mentorship.

WHY: The investment establishes a long-term partnership for the co-development of novel and sustainable beauty solutions enabling L'Oréal to unlock the full potential of raw materials, overcoming known limitations such as incompatibility, instability, and delivery to develop innovative skin, hair, and scalp formulations with a wider range of benefits.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO of L'Oréal Groupe in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology, said, “The fast-paced and unique ecosystem of startups in China is an incredibly important enabler of our future strategy of innovation at L’Oréal. This is why we are extremely excited to pursue this new investment and partnership with one of these highly innovative Chinese Biotech Startups: Shinehigh. This partnership which will enable us, thanks to their world-leading application of supramolecular technology in the beauty industry, to bring breakthrough new performances to the beauty market. We are delighted to enter this exclusive beauty partnership with the pioneering team of Shinehigh.”

Fabrice Megarbane, President of L'Oréal North Asia Zone and CEO of L'Oréal China, said, “We have long-term confidence in the Chinese market. After 25 years’ development, China has become the Groupe’s inspiration cradle of future innovation. Under our firm belief in co-creation, we initiated Big Bang 4 years ago, and founded L'Oréal China’s investment company Meicifang last year. I am so thrilled to see all our efforts have harvested fruits today: investing in Shinehigh Innovation, our 2022 Big Bang winner. Now Big Bang  has been extended to the North Asia Zone, and we expect to invent the future of beauty with more partners for North Asia and the global beauty market.”

Jiaheng Zhang, the founder and CEO of Shinehigh Innovation, said, “I am delighted to cooperate with L’Oréal Groupe, a global leader in the beauty industry. We have jointly conducted research on the supramolecular development of multiple active raw materials in the fields of skincare, makeup, hair care, and hair coloration. This is of great significance for the industrialization and landing of cutting-edge supramolecular technology. We look forward to exploring more possibilities in raw material research and development, application, and global market development together!”


  • L’Oréal made its first open innovation investment in China through Shanghai Meicifang Investment Co., Ltd (Meicifang), supported by BOLD (Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development).
  • It is also the first investment from L’Oréal’s well-known Big Bang Beauty Tech Innovation Challenge initiated four years ago in China, proving the successful achievement in China’s open innovation ecosystem.
  • In September 2022, Meicifang made its first investment in Documents, a Chinese luxury fragrance brand.

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