Chain to open 400 stores next year to become China's biggest operator Natural Beauty, a Taiwan-based beauty company listed in Hong Kong, sees the mainland as its main market for growth and is looking to expand into Europe and North America, according to its China chief executive, Spring Su. In the first six months of this year, Natural Beauty posted revenue of $163 million, up from $150.8 million in the same period a year earlier. Gross profit was $128.4 million, up from $124 million. Mainland operations accounted for 60.2 per cent of its turnover while business in Taiwan made up 37.9 per cent and Hong Kong and 1.9 per cent. Founded by Tsai Yen-ping in Taiwan in 1972, the company makes beauty and skin-care products and sells them through dedicated sales counters and spas. It also operates beauty salons. At the end of June, it had 2,099 outlets - 1,511 on the mainland, 540 in Taiwan, 46 in Malaysia and two in Hong Kong. It has three factories - one in Taiwan and two in Shanghai. It first entered the mainland market at the end of 1992. Ms Su, daughter of the company's founder, said that the mainland would be its principal growth market. 'In the first half of this year, our profits in the mainland accounted for 60 per cent to 70 per cent of total profits.' 'Taiwan is a mature market and maintaining stable growth there is fine. Over the last 13 years, the mainland market has become global. Our target is to maintain double-digit growth [there]. According to official figures, the [mainland] beauty market is growing 15.4 per cent a year,' she said. Ms Su said Natural Beauty planned to open an additional 400 franchises on the mainland next year, persuading some of the country's 1.54 million beauty salons to switch to its products. Its main competitors in that market are thousands of individual stores. There are only a handful of chains like Natural Beauty. 'Their scale is not large, with the second biggest having fewer than 100 outlets.' Since China's entry into the World Trade Organisation and the lowering of tariffs, many cosmetics firms have been targeting its primary and secondary cities. 'But the approval process has become even more strict,' said Ms Su. 'The shortest is three to six months and the longest up to 18 months so international brands are not our direct competitors.' The company wants to expand into the European and North American markets.