istyle, Amazon join forces

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Jasper Cheung, president of Amazon Japan G.K.

NEW YORK — The Japanese operator of @cosme, one of the nation’s largest cosmetics and beauty portals, announced capital and business tie-ups with on Monday.

The U.S. tech giant will invest up to ¥14 billion in istyle Inc. through stock acquisition rights. When all the stock acquisition rights are exercised, Amazon will become istyle’s largest shareholder with a stake of about 37%.

Tokyo-based @cosme has 7.8 million registered members, mostly women in their 20s and 30s, and handles about 370,000 products.

According to the announcement, a website tentatively called @cosme Shopping will open on Amazon’s portal, selling cosmetics and providing beauty information to Amazon customers.

Drugstores and department stores are the main outlets for cosmetics sales in Japan. Parent company istyle has specialty stores in Tokyo’s Harajuku district and Yokohama, among other locations. Amazon is expected to expand its cosmetic sales through cooperation with the physical stores.

Jasper Cheung, president of Amazon Japan G.K., said the company wants to bring innovation to shopping for cosmetics and beauty products, to increase the convenience and satisfaction of customers.

In July, Amazon said it would acquire membership-based healthcare provider One Medical. In August it announced it would buy iRobot Corp., maker of the robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba.

Amazon is expected to focus on expanding its businesses by drawing on its expertise in e-commerce and artificial intelligence.