Business / Corporate

Japanese contact lens maker Seed sets sights on bigger Asian sales with U.S. fashion brand collaboration

Nna/kyodo

Major contact lens maker Seed Co. is stepping up efforts to boost sales in Asia by collaborating with U.S. fashion brand Jill Stuart.

The Tokyo-based company launched disposable contact lenses designed with the New York brand in Hong Kong last week to offer three colors — pink, olive and blue.

It plans to release them in mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan through next summer.

“Hong Kong is an important market to showcase products” in expanding sales in Asia, President Masahiro Urakabe said at a launch event in the Chinese territory on Sept. 19.

Jill Stuart One Day UV, which went on sale in Japan in August, enables users to apply fashion accessories to their eyes, carrying a price tag of 308 Hong Kong dollars (¥4,500) per box of 30 pieces, according to the company.

Seed’s overseas sales, which account for about 6 percent of the total, have surged in recent years and are projected to reach ¥2.1 billion ($19 million) in the year to next March, up 34.4 percent year on year, according to its earnings report.

Seed entered the Hong Kong market in 2013 in partnership with Bravo Vision Optical Ltd., a local distributor.

According to the company, the local contact lens market is worth about ¥10 billion, with color contact lenses comprising 20 to 25 percent of the total.

With the introduction of the new fashion lens, Seed aims to expand its market share from less than 5 percent to 7 percent over the next three years, Urakabe said.

Product launches are scheduled for around Christmas in Singapore and Malaysia, early next year in Taiwan and next summer in mainland China.

Seed started selling the Jill Stuart series first in Hong Kong and targeted Singapore next among Asian markets because of high use of disposable contact lenses in the two regions, the president said.

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