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Parent Company: Procter & Gamble Co

Brand value: $1,420 million

Headquarter city: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Industry: Personal Care

Year formed: 1970s

SK-II was first developed by scientists in the 1970s, at its former brand parent Max Factor. In a story that has since become integral to SK-II’s brand mythos, researchers noticed that women working at a sake brewery had unusually youthful-looking hands – and eventually identified the “Skin Key” (SK) ingredient Pitera, a kind of yeast ferment, as the reason why. SK-II was eventually relaunched as a solo brand range and was acquired by Procter & Gamble Co. in 1991. Since then, the brand has expanded throughout Asia and the world as a luxurious, science-based prestige skincare solution. In recent years, the brand has introduced skin analysis services at some stores, using skin data, image analysis technologies, automatic facial recognition, and AI for counseling. With these technologies, the brand is aiming to provide the “future skin care shopping” experience. In November 2018, the brand opened a pop-up store with the cutting-edge AR technologies in Tokyo; in 2019, it participated in CES2019, the world’s largest technology festival in Las Vegas and introduced Yumi, a digitally created celebrity ambassador. Yumi joins a robust stable of celebrity endorsers that in Japan includes actresses like Kasumi Arimura, Haruka Ayase, and Kaori Momoi - although Pitera is still the main “character” of most brand messaging. SK-II’s parent company Procter & Gamble Co. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.