Voice of the Industry

"I'm hopeful, but I don't see China implementing an alternative within the next few months," says industry expert

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

"I'm hopeful, but I don't see China implementing an alternative within the next few months," says industry expert

Related tags Asia pacific region Cosmetics

In a frank discussion with the head of the Toiletry and Fragrance Association in Singapore, Dr. Alain Khaiat reveals he has doubts as to how soon Chinese officials will be able to implement an alternative to animal testing.

In this, the fourth edition of Cosmetics Design’s ‘Voice of the Industry’ series, Khaiat who is also the CEO of Seers Consulting, a company that advises others on how best to break onto the Asia Pacific market, discusses why he thinks it might take longer than planned to implement the alternative, while highlighting some of the challenges companies are likely to meet on expanding into the region.

The reality of the situation…

Referring to our previous interview with the scientist behind persuading Chinese officials to introduce the alternative, Dr. Khaiat says that, from his experience, although the promised date for implementation is late fall – the fact of the matter is that it is likely to take longer than initially thought.

I hope it happens tomorrow don’t get me wrong. I read that interview and I’m willing to hope that the end is in view but I know what sort of timeframe it takes to train, validate and for the authorities to accept the data and move forward​,” he told CosmeticsDesign.com.

I would love to see that happen but I don’t expect it within the six months to two years​,” he added.


Recognized for dedicating much of his 40-year career to the issue of safety within the cosmetics industry, Dr. Khaiat has been credited for bringing together the Asian, American and European cosmetics markets.

Indeed throughout his time in the industry the expert met challenges of his own, such as attempting to establish an R&D department for the whole of the Asia pacific region for Johnson & Johnson some years ago.

The main challenge I found was getting good trained people and establishing processes and laboratories. But ultimately keeping people was and still is a challenge. In Europe, employment is quite high but it’s not in Asia Pacific, so companies are always trying to get people from the other company – turnover is a problem.”

Other typical challenges, he informs us, are in areas like regulation, where one group of countries within the region might have a different set of formulation requirements to others, so something that might be acceptable in one country may not be in another.

Next, the regional specialist highlights the registering process for companies with a ‘special cosmetic product’ to be particularly tricky, as the process can take anywhere from 12 -14 months; "andif you’re lucky you get it, if you’re not, the process can even last for three years,​” he adds.

Finally, the specialist says that companies are realizing that trying to sell in China for example, is not simple. “With regulation changes, companies can find themselves in the position where they have to change their outwork and modify their product and are lucky if they don’t have to re-formulate​.”


Dr. Khaiat's parting advice is with those cosmetic companies looking to expand onto the region. “Some want to impose their brands without really knowing the market – the brand isn’t going to change but the way you sell can be adapted depending on the market - not everything is reproducible from EU or US or any other developed countries​.”

Here, Dr. Khaiat discusses the nature of companies now entering the Asia Pacific region and the areas he thinks will progress over the next five years.

If you see yourself as an industry expert and would like to take part in a ‘VOI’ series on a key issue please contact us via the editor button below for consideration.





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