Unilever has teamed up with Chinese e-commerce site Tmall to launch a joint innovation lab in partnership with Tmall’s business to consumer innovation center.

The aim of the venture is to better understand consumer targeting capabilities and gain better data analytics. The new product research lab will make use of Tmall’s data analytics resources to source research data on users’ responses to allow products to better target consumer demand, while also being used to source potential buyers.

Unilever’s personal care product lines, Blueair air purifying machines, and Qinyuan water purification products will work closely with the center in the first stages, with the company’s first skin-care product based on Tmall’s consumer insights set to be launched next month.

The aim of the initiative is to shorten the R&D and launch stage down from 1-2 years, to around six months. The two companies aim to do this by combining online and offline data resources through consumer sample choices, giving manufacturers a quicker response time to action formulations changes.

Samir-Cal Singh, Unilever Global Executive Vice President of skin cleansing at Unilever, aims to extend the partnership to other product categories in the future.