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Shiseido Co., the Japanese firm that sells Laura Mercier cosmetics and Dolce & Gabbana fragrances, sold ¥1 trillion ($9.3 billion) worth of beauty products last year, mostly in traditional stores where customers can sample brands in person.

That’s a problem for Masahiko Uotani, Shiseido’s chief executive officer. Consumers in their teens and twenties often prefer to shop online, beyond the reach of in-store salespeople. Uotani’s solution? To partner with — and even buy up — small startups in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs to gain expertise in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and other technologies.

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