L'Oréal chairman seeks mutually beneficial ties with Shanghai

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Chairman Jean-Paul Agon at L'Oréal Group is excited to visit Shanghai again three years after he was given honorary citizenship and the Chinese Government Friendship Award in 2022.
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L'Oréal chairman seeks mutually beneficial ties with Shanghai

Jean-Paul Agon, chairman of L'Oréal Group

Chairman Jean-Paul Agon at L’Oréal Group is excited to visit Shanghai again three years after he was given honorary citizenship and the Chinese Government Friendship Award in 2022.

He said he is looking forward to further promote mutually beneficial partnerships with Shanghai at a deeper level and in many areas.

He spoke highly of the role of the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council (IBLAC).

“IBLAC has encouraged mutual understanding and provided a valuable source of international experience for Shanghai’s development,” he noted.

“It has become an important platform for deepening global cooperation and the epitome of Shanghai’s image.”

Agon’s story with Shanghai dates back more than two decades to 1997, when he was entrusted with exploring the China market as L’Oréal Asia president.

He was already visionary enough to foresee the potential of Shanghai to become a leading city to develop a headquarters economy and established the group’s China headquarters in the city.

After his appointment as chief executive officer of the group in 2006, he kept returning to Shanghai, with at least two visits each year before the pandemic.

Over the course of several decades, L’Oréal, which began with a tiny office and a few staff, has grown to become a beauty giant with footprints all over China.

He said he enjoyed taking a stroll in Shanghai streets in leisure time to feel the city’s changing landscape.

He also took pleasures in interacting with young college students to learn about their ideas which represent the vitality and enthusiasm of China’s future.

L’Oréal’s North Asia Zone, which covers China, Japan and South Korea, also settled its headquarters in Shanghai in 2021, representing one of its most dynamic beauty ecosystems worldwide.

Agon praised Shanghai as a world-class business consumption and innovation ecosystem as well as an excellent hub for multinational companies.

As one of China’s most internationally competitive gateways, Shanghai needs to stamp its own mark on the international stage, he suggests.

He proposes Shanghai must showcase its culture and transform itself into a space for innovators to flex their creative muscles, a destination for young people to realize their dreams, and a place that people from around the world see as a potential and preferred home.

Agon proposed new measures for the Shanghai government to unleash the city’s consumption potential and develop it into a world-class consumer destination.

New incentives should be put in place to nurture a thriving industry ecosystem, harness innovative potential, and build a global industry highland, he said.

“We are well prepared to continue to work with the Shanghai government and other stakeholders to support Shanghai in its journey toward becoming ‘A City for All’ that embraces diversity, innovation, sustainable development, and endless possibilities.”

Agon said the idea of “A City for All” naturally fits with Shanghai’s long-term commitment to becoming a city where everyone has an opportunity to shine, play a part in governance, enjoy a quality life, feel cared for, and have a sense of belonging.

He suggested that Shanghai is already a national leader in terms of product debuts, first store establishments, and business format innovation, but still has room for improvement in three aspects: global influence of local emerging products, global presence of local brands, attractiveness of the local consumer market.

A variety of initiatives have been put forward by the company to bolster the city’s status as a global capital of Consumption for Good.

It has also actively participated in the city’s key consumption-promoting projects, including the Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai Double Five Shopping Festival, and China International Import Expo, helping to enhance the city’s international influence.

The company also proposed for the city to foster an industry ecosystem that benefits all parties by playing the role of planner, enabler, and advocate.

From his perspective, the city also needs to create a welcoming city space and environment, making Shanghai the destination of choice for young talent to foster a diverse, inclusive culture.

As an IBLAC member, L’Oréal has been contributing insights and solutions since 2020 to help Shanghai become a global capital of Consumption for Good. This year, it is moving further with a proposal to build Shanghai into “A City for All,” in order to help the city activate its vitality, and unlock its potential.

“It is inspiring to envision Shanghai evolving into ‘A City for All’ across the consumer market, industry ecosystem, cultural environment, and social responsibility dimensions,” he said.

“We believe that under the strong leadership of the Shanghai municipal government, and with the collective wisdom of all stakeholders, Shanghai can make great strides toward becoming ‘A City for All’ based on the ‘SOAR’ City Model: Sophisticated Market, Open Industry, All-embracing Culture, and Responsible Society,” he added.

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