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China’s cosmetics landscape in 2018 contains “peculiarities” and is “unclear and hard to understand”

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

 China’s cosmetics landscape in 2018 contains “peculiarities” and is “unclear and hard to understand”
We spoke with April Guo, General Manager, Personal Care Division, Hangzhou Reach Technology Group (CIRS Group), about the latest regulations affecting the Chinese cosmetics marketplace.

Ahead of her presentation on the latest Chinese cosmetic regulations and how they will affect exports from Korea at this year’s in-cosmetics Korea event, we look at China's current regulatory landscape with April Guo.

Chinese regulatory updates

Talking about the latest cosmetics regulations updates to impact the Chinese marketplace, April Guo, General Manager,Personal Care Division, Hangzhou Reach Technology Group (CIRS Group), stated: The most important new regulation relates to the expansion of ten new free trade zones, each of which shall implement a new record-keeping system for imported non-special use cosmetics.”

Regulatory changes occur annually, yet Guo explains that while the industry is “relatively stable now”​, it is still in a state of flux. Further, the global cosmetics industry may also see additional changes in the second half of 2018.


Current challenges for Chinese brands relate to two core aspects. Firstly, Chinese regulations tend to reflect EU cosmetics regulations, and therefore, this means that technical requirements have become stricter. In addition, China’s competent authority reinforces post-market surveillance.

Commenting on how brands can overcome these, Guo added: “On the one hand, the local manufacturer should improve the production conditions based on new requirements.”

However, "regardless of whether these companies are local or foreign manufacturers, they can find a third party consulting firm with rich experience to assist them with ensuring they achieve regulatory compliance and keep up to date with regulations.”

Governmental help 

Interestingly, Guo explained that when it comes to Chinese bodies helping brands navigate them through the regulatory landscape, “it is difficult for both China and foreign manufacturers present in the Chinese marketplace to stay relaxed".

Describing the Chinese marketplace’s “peculiarities, unclear and hard to understand”​ nature and the fact it has “no or short transition period for new regulation”,​ this keeps the Chinese cosmetic industry in a “passive position”. 

Expansion considerations 

Advice and guidance for startups or established brands expanding into the Chinese marketplace rest on the need for “products to be manufactured under qualified and legal conditions, such as plants featuring cGMP certificates”. 

To avoid the safety issues relating to products, brands should have a good source to obtain raw materials from. Additionally, knowing and keeping up to date with regulations is very important, Guo noted.

“This can be achieved by setting up a regulatory team or outsourcing to a qualified third party consulting firm,”​ Guo concluded.

In-cosmetics Korea will take place between 13th-15th June 2018 and will explore cosmetics and personal care segment trends, regulations, and science and technology updates.

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