MULTINATIONAL cosmetics company L'Oreal is getting ready for a major expansion in the increasingly sophisticated mainland market. The company is seeking entrepreneurial and innovative marketing professionals who can grow the business further. The cosmetics firm is targeting marketing professionals from Hong Kong. Since the city's consumer markets are more developed, there is a pool of seasoned talent that can meet L'Oreal's needs in the mainland. The mainland operations require product managers, senior product managers, group managers and marketing managers - all of them to be based in Shanghai. They should have about four years' experience in a related industry. Interviews will be conducted in Hong Kong in March and the selected candidates will begin work in May or June. Josephine Teo, recruitment and integration director at L'Oreal China, said: 'We have a lot of opportunities. If we find [people], we have a place for them.' Jackson Zhang, general manager of L'Oreal Paris brand at L'Oreal China said the country was not an emerging market any more; it was becoming a mature one that needed people who had worked in developed markets such as Hong Kong. More importantly, an understanding of the region was essential; it did not matter if the candidates were not from the mainland but from Taiwan or Hong Kong. Given that Hong Kong is a finely segmented market, people who have worked in the city can understand and predict trends in the mainland market. Mr Zhang said Hong Kong was not a big place, but its business channels were well-developed - the stores were sophisticated and well- run, for example. These factors help Hong Kong candidates do well in the mainland, and that is why the company has previously transferred people from L'Oreal Hong Kong to operations in the mainland. According to Mr Zhang, the transition is smooth because of the similarities in language, moral standards and culture, which makes it easier for staff to adjust to the new environment. Candidates should have the will to build their careers in the mainland market. Inventive thinking and professional expertise are critical, and these attributes are highly valued at L'Oreal. Beatrice Lazat, human resources vice-president of L'Oreal China, said: 'We are an innovative company. We want people with ideas, and the ability to communicate and defend them.' She said the company needed people who could come up with solutions, look at things from a different angle and think outside the box. At the same time, they were required to have strong analytical skills and be consumer-oriented. There are tremendous opportunities ahead for those who work in that market. 'China is a much bigger market ... the results of your actions can be seen on a big scale,' Ms Lazat said. L'Oreal is one of the top two investors in the cosmetics market in China in terms of marketing. The company is tapping into a growing enthusiasm to know more about cosmetics. 'You can give them [consumers] a lot and you can get a lot of returns for it,' Ms Lazat said. L'Oreal started operating in the mainland in 1996 and set up its head office in Shanghai the following year. It has grown its operations significantly over the past decade. The company employs a staff of about 7,000 and owns three manufacturing facilities in the country. By May last year, it had 14 cosmetics brands in China, including L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline, Lancome and Vichy. The global cosmetics giant opened a research and development centre in Pudong last year, putting China among the three countries where L'Oreal owns research facilities. Every year, the company hires about 350 people in the mainland. The growth momentum is set to continue. On the hunt Cosmetic group L'Oreal is seeking seasoned marketing professionals from Hong Kong. Hong Kong professionals are being targeted because the city has a more developed consumer market. Positions will be based in Shanghai and require about four years of experience in related industries. Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are valued attributes.