• Kyodo

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Kao Corp., Japan’s biggest maker of household products, opened a new manufacturing facility in Taiwan on Friday to raise output of skin care and hair products on the island, where growth has been “remarkable,” and for Asia as a whole.

The company said it initially invested about ¥3.3 billion (US$29.6 million) to build the factory on the premises of its 58,000-sq.-meter site in Hsinchu in northeast Taiwan, where it has been running since 1981.

With completion of the four-story facility adding 8,600 sq. meters of floor area, overall production capacity at the plant, which also produces laundry detergent and sanitary products, will almost double, it said.

Plant manager Liu Chien-hsien said the new facility’s Biore skin care products and its Essential and Liese hair products, among others, will not only be distributed in Taiwan but exported to Japan, Southeast Asia and “Greater China,” a term used to refer to mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

Tokyo-based Kao opened its first manufacturing plant in Taiwan in 1964, relocating from Taipei to Hsinchu in 1981. It has 28 overseas factories, including in mainland China.

Taiwan is one of Kao’s top five overseas markets, said Kozo Saito, managing executive officer for consumer products at Kao’s international business management department.

Since Japan’s shrinking population means the company can no longer depend mainly on domestic demand, it has been targeting other markets in Asia and promoting the expansion of production capacity overseas, Saito said.

He said overseas markets account for 35 to 45 percent of total revenue. To enhance corporate value, the Kao Group has formulated a mid-term plan called K20, under which it hopes to generate ¥2.5 trillion in net sales by 2030, including ¥1 trillion from overseas markets.

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