Part II

'Brands MUST stay out of China in order to speed up change,' says HSI

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

'Brands MUST stay out of China in order to speed up change,' says HSI

Related tags China

Yesterday, Cosmetics Design spoke to Alain Khaiat about cosmetic brands opting out of China over animal testing. On his advice that the bigger players ‘cannot afford not to be present’, the HSI disagrees, claiming that on the contrary, brands can and must stay out - to speed up change.

This publication reported on 'cruelty free’ international companies being faced with having to go against company policy or to miss out on China's profitable markets due to mandatory animal testing.

Brands like Urban Decay have had to pull out of the country at the last minute after coming under fire, while Avon and Estee Lauder were removed from PETA’s list of cruelty-free companies, as a result of submitting to Chinese animal testing.

However, Khaiat was among experts to say this law is just a phase in an on-going process​, which will eventually include imported products and certain ‘special use’ cosmetics as well.

"There are regulations, and unless you want to skip the Chinese market, you have to comply! Small, niche companies can skip and make a claim about it, bigger companies cannot afford not to be present​," the industry veteran and President of Seers Consulting had told

However, the Humane Society International reckons that the industry actually has the potential to have power and influence over these regulations, if they resisted the Chinese market'.

"Staying out of China would send a resounding message to authorities, who 'could not ignore such collective market refusal'​," HSI representative, Irene Zhang told this publication.

HSI - 'brands do not need to be in China to be successful'

The Group's Beijing based '#BeCrueltyFree' coordinator says that brands do not need to be in China to be successful, and that the likes of Lush, Paul Mitchell and Urban Decay are all globally successful despite avoiding China.

"Chinese consumers have a strong preference for foreign brands, and they are increasingly aware that the likes of Lush and Urban Decay are boycotting China, so the way that [​companies] respond to this issue doesn’t go unnoticed," ​she says.

Zhang, addressing Khaiat's point that; "many foreign companies have set up manufacturing in China and [have] benefited from the new amendment​", says that the reality is companies selling in China will still find it hard to avoid animal testing, even if they have in-country manufacturing.

"The China FDA has been quite open about its intention to increase post-market surveillance (including animal testing) to compensate for the June 2014 rule change," ​she concluded.

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