With Kao’s global expansion of business operations, we have vigorously pursued R&D activities in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. We have high regards for the opinions and points of views of our consumers and customers, and we are committed to Yoki-Monozukuri in order to continue to generate products with high added value.
In the field of consumer products, we continually study changing lifestyles and preferences in different regions, as well as ethnic differences in skin and hair, in order to thoroughly understand our consumers’ lifestyles and needs. The knowledge thus acquired is combined with research findings from product development and fundamental research so that we can develop the products that consumers in each region truly desire. In the field of chemical products, we actively develop various products that are based on our unique fundamental technologies throughout the world.
In global R&D activities, communication is given a high priority. This, of course, includes communication with our consumers, but it also extends to specialists in various fields, regardless of their organization or geographical region. In this way, we create new products with new technologies and add value that is truly universal.
In Japan, our first laboratory can be traced all the way back to 1888, when Kao was founded as Nagase Shoten.The first official Kao laboratory, however, was the Housework Science Laboratory, established in 1934.
Subsequently, as our business operations expanded, we diversified our research fields.
For the product development section, we established Hygiene and Living Care, Health and Beauty Care, Life Care, Cosmetics, and Chemicals research units, as well as their corresponding business departments. In our fundamental research, we have concentrated our functions in the areas of material science, life science, production technology, and human science, while working in harmony with affiliated company laboratories overseas. We continue our daily quest to develop innovative new technologies and products.
The Group’s cosmetics research organizations were integrated, and, in July 2014, Kao implemented full-scale cosmetics researchat the laboratories in Odawara to serve as the base of the Group’s cosmetics research and development.
Kao Europe Research Laboratories were established in 1948 for Goldwell GmbH in Germany and were given their current name in 2012.
Kao Germany GmbH supplies the world market with professional hair care products under the three brand names of Goldwell, KMS and Oribe. The Kao Europe Research Laboratories pursue the development of hair coloring, perming products, shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and tools for salon use, as well as hair treatment techniques and information related to beauty. Our researchers listen to the beauticians who are our customers and constantly strive to develop new products and services that will satisfy them.
Established in 1988, Kao Americas Research Laboratories develop products for supporting the business operations of Kao USA Inc., which plays a key role in the premium personal care business, with items such as Jergens, Ban, Bioré, and Curél skin care products and Guhl and John Frieda hair care products. These brands are currently being marketed in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.
Kao Americas Research Laboratories strive to create products that are effective, attractive, and pleasing, with the aim of helping women feel and appreciate their own innate beauty.
Kao China Research and Development Center Co., Ltd. (KCRC) was established in Shanghai in 2006. It pursues consumer research in China and works to strengthen product development, focusing on skin products. KCRC engages in product and technology development to create products that will delight consumers.
In addition, KCRC is intensively reviewing traditional Chinese medical practices and Chinese herbal medicine with the aim of applying the results.
Kao Chemicals Europe (KCE) were established in 1999 by integrating the operations of research facilities of Kao Corporation S.A. in Spain, Kao Chemicals in Germany, and Kao Corporation (France) with the aim to support Kao's chemical business in Europe. In 2005, Quimi-Kao in Mexico also became a member of KCE, so that today research is being carried out in Kao Spain Research Labs, Kao Chemicals Germany Research Labs, Kao Chimigraf Research Labs, and Quimi-Kao Research Labs.
Work at these locations focuses on the development of various surfactants and their application to consumer products fields and industrial fields that meet local needs. Additional areas of interest include the local optimization of technologies for manufacturing toners, toner binders, inkjet ink, tertiary amines, and synthetic fragrances, and the development of compounded fragrances.