“Regulation is fast evolving in many areas of industry in China,” said Gregor Keil, head of BS consumer care Asia-Pacific, who spoke exclusively to Cosmetics Design at the recent PCHi expo in Shanghai, China.
“This is a particular challenge for companies such as Clariant that are aiming to bring increasingly sophisticated and innovative products to the market in China. Registration of these new raw materials is particularly challenging as it is currently taking around 12 to 18 months to complete, based on the latest experiences of trying to bring new products to the market.”
Regulation spells benefits to end users
However, despite the clear challenges this presents to companies trying to bring new materials to the fast paced and rapidly evolving China market, the benefits to the end user are clear.
“We agree with the legislation as it is good for the consumer and it is now what they expect. As a result safety of products is now of the highest priority for the government and regulation authorities and Clariant agrees with this,” Keil added.
The company believes that fulfilling the new and tougher regulations is also vital to tapping into incredible growth opportunities, which it says are divided between the need for increasingly sophisticated ingredients, alongside the existing huge market for more simple formulas.
Medium-sized cosmetics companies spell biggest opportunities
Keil also pointed out the fact that the medium- size local cosmetics manufacturers are currently the main focus for suppliers as they are expected to grow at the fastest rate in the future.
“International players are buying local cosmetics producers to ensure they have a footing in the mid-sized market. The consumers buying these products are stepping up and the international players want to keep up with this.”
Although the basic criteria for hair and skin care products is the same for the China market as any other market in the world, functional requirements are different, which dictates different types of active ingredients.
Different emphasis on active ingredients
“This is perhaps most underlined by the skin whitening trend, which requires a very different type of active ingredient, but there are also different requirements for hair care that are often quite different to requirements in the Western markets, for example.”
However, for Keil the biggest difference in the China market is the speed at which products have to get to the market.
“There is simply much more competition here so speed is of the essence. Smaller cosmetics companies generally get products to market in around three to six months, which is double the speed products usually take in the developed markets.”