Lion Corporation is one of Japan's leading consumer goods companies, making a variety of laundry detergents, oral care, personal care and pharmaceutical products. It is the country's #1 oral care business, with leading brands Systema, Clinica, Kodomo and more recent launches Nonio and Migacot. It has also introduced a series of high-tech oral care initiatives including a saliva test that indicates mouth health, and apps to monitor bad breath and gum health. Lion is also among the top three in Japan in laundry detergents, with best-selling brand Top and fabric conditioner Soflan. Other brands include Charmy dishwashing liquid, KireiKirei liquid hand soap and a wide variety of household cleaning products under the Look banner. In the hair and personal care sector its leading brands include Free & Free, Shokubutsu Monogatari and Ban deodorant, and it also has local rights to gastro healthcare brand Bufferin. Despite its extensive portfolio, Lion has struggled to find the level of innovation demonstrated by its main rivals in this fiercely competitive market. In pursuit of younger consumers, it has repositioned its portfolio in recent years with an emphasis on naturally derived plant and vegetable products. That appears to have helped, with revenues and profits reaching new highs for four consecutive years between 2014 and 2017. Revenues in 2019 were approx $3.2bn, with net profit of approx $189m. Fabric care accounted for 28% of that total and oral care for 26%. Little known in the West, the group has extensive interests across other parts of Asia, primarily Thailand, Malaysia, Korea and China. In several neighbouring markets it is the local leader in fabric care. However, Lion remains heavily reliant on the domestic market, which still accounts for almost three-quarters of sales. Itsuo Hama is now chairman with Masazumi Kikukawa as president. The company was founded in 1891 by Tomijiro Kobayashi in order to manufacture soap, and later matches. In 1896, it launched a high quality tooth powder under the brandname Lion, followed by a brush made from animal bone, and the country's first tube toothpaste in 1911. It diversified further from the 1920s onwards, and Top, introduced in 1956, was Japan's first synthetic laundry detergent.
Capsule checked 18th December 2020
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