Shiseido announced on Tuesday that starting January 2011, it will commence sales of its prestige skincare and makeup lines in Panama. It will be the first market entry of a Japanese premium cosmetics company in the Latin American country.

Latin America is quickly emerging as the most attractive beauty market, beating North America, Western Europe and Japan. While global beauty sales are expected to gain 12% through 2014, Latin American sales are predicted to surge ahead by 22%, according to the London-based research firm Euromonitor International. Brazil remains the number one beauty market in the region, with Peru and Colombia close behind.

Panama will be the fourth country in Latin America where Shiseido is present - the others being Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. The beauty brand said it decided to invest in Panama given the country's stable economic growth since 2004, excluding the global recession in 2009. Shiseido sales will be handled in Panama by the WISA Group, a leading Colombian distributor for prestige cosmetics product sales in Latin America. Sales will initially be launched in five high-end speciality stores, with no stand-alone boutiques planned at this time.

Shiseido Company Limited is one of the major Japanese hair care and cosmetics producers. It is the oldest cosmetics company in the world and the fourth largest cosmetics company in the world, selling skincare, makeup, suncare, body care, fragrance and men's cosmetics products.

The decision by Shiseido to enter Panama in 2011 makes sense. Latin America is expected to be the second highest contributor to the global growth in beauty and personal care sales between 2009 and 2014, according to trade publication GCI. Growth in Latin America will be driven primarily by fragrances, skin care, hair care and color cosmetics. The leading player in Latin America is Procter & Gamble, followed by Unilever and Avon.