All these efforts reflect the SFDA’s determination to regulate cosmetics that, in turn, will make marketing cosmeceuticals even more difficult in China. Yet, the cosmeceutical market has a huge potential in China and is set to attract major players, where there remains an untapped population with the desire to look young and healthy.
Aside from traditional cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies, an increasing number of major retailers are expanding into this market. For example, Lianhua teamed up with Japan’s Growell for Chinese cosmeceuticals.
In mid-2011, Lianhua, one of the biggest supermarket operators, formed a partnership with Growell Group, a well-known cosmeceutical company in Japan, and Shanghai-based Meiribuy, the first Chinese shopping website that provides made-in-Japan products, to create a three-way cosmeceutical joint venture. Aiming to snap up a greater share of the high-end cosmeceutical market in Shanghai, the cosmeceutical stores will expand via Lianhua’s existing network resources and eight new stores will open this year. Plans call for 50 stores by 2016.
Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a leading Japanese chain drugstore, will launch its chain stores and supermarkets in Beijing and Shanghai. Well-known for its cosmeceuticals, Matsumoto Kiyoshi will introduce its own brand as well as those from fellow Japanese company Pola Orbis.
Today’s consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and proactive about cosmeceutical products; they are no longer willing to take product manufacturers’ word on efficacy; they want research.
Cosmeceutical brands are considered leaders in advanced skin care since they tend to use the newest active ingredients and technologies, often backed by research from biochemists or medical professionals. Scientific and clinical expertise lends credibility.
At the 3rd Cosmeceutical Summit organized by Ringier Trade, Dr. Jason Gu from Unilever Research & Development Shanghai expressed his view on an ideal cosmeceutical in “Application of Chinese Medicine in Cosmeceuticals.” In his opinion, ideal TCM-based cosmeceutical products should be “natural and safety assured, with perceivable and mild effects for consumers. (They should) prevent or deal with mild disorders, (contain) natural constituents (and offer) bioactivity.”
Despite the main issues facing current TCM-based products, including soft claims, lack of scientific evidence and safety issues, TCM-based cosmetics still hold great potential, as they aim to treat the whole person via a holistic approach based on the complementary forces yin and yang, Dr. Gu pointed out.
Ally Dai is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Ringier Trade Media Ltd, responsible for trade publications including Happi China. She has more than 10 years of experience in the cosmetic and food industries. Happi China is a leading media for the China household & personal care industry. Published by Ringier Trade Media in strategic editorial partnership with Happi, it helps local manufacturers update their knowledge on formulating, testing and packaging, as well as providing market insight.