Cosmoprof Asia 2019

Same, but different: AOBiome aims to capture China market with Mother Dirt 'twin'

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

AOBiome is poised to tackle the Chinese market with AO+ Skincare. ©AO+Skincare
AOBiome is poised to tackle the Chinese market with AO+ Skincare. ©AO+Skincare

Related tags: microbiome, China, Skin care

US-based microbiome company AOBiome is poised to tackle the Chinese market with AO+ Skincare, a new brand based on its own probiotic beauty brand, Mother Dirt.

Like Mother Dirt, AO+ Skincare products contain the hero ingredient, Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB).  AOBiome claims that AOB acts as the “peacekeeper” of skin microbiome health but gets wiped out with the daily use of personal care products like soaps and deodorants.

The AO+ Skincare brand was created for China and Hong Kong markets, where it launched around six months ago. It is currently distributing its products through its own online store and via e-commerce platform JD.com

The brand not only has a different name but an entirely different look.

Shanshan Liu, head of marketing for AOBiome Cosmetics, explained to CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company had to change the name because Mother Dirt does not translate well into Mandarin and would not resonate well with Chinese consumers.

This led the company to revamp the packaging design as well, so as not to confuse the market.

Currently, the new brand consists of four products, three of which come from the original Mother Dirt range, including the best-selling AO+ Mist.

The fourth product, the AO+ Soothing Microbalance Cleansing Mask, was designed especially for the Asian consumer.

“The cleansing mask is exclusively for Asia. It’s meant to calm down sensitive skin, eczema and acne. We believe the product has a lot of potential in the Chinese market because it’s a two-in-one product. Such products are appreciated by the Chinese consumer,” ​said Liu.

Next stop, China

Since its launch, the brand has been performing favourably and received good feedback from consumers. With this positive start, Liu said the company would be expecting more from the brand next year.

The company believes it has entered the Chinese and Hong Kong markets at the right time.

Liu explained that there was beginning to be more chatter about probiotic beauty and the skin microbiome, which is known as Wei Sheng Tai​ in Mandarin.

She attributes this burgeoning awareness to certain global beauty brands which have been touting the benefits of probiotics in their product marketing.

However, the company believes it has an advantage over more well-known brands because of its usage of live probiotics, which is unique in the market.

“The aim of our products is to balance the skin microbiome. When people hear about this, they are curious and interested to try our products. The Chinese market is a mature market now, I believe, and our concept is new to them and very competitive,” ​said Liu.

She added that the concept of microbiome skin care fitted in well with one of the hottest concerns in the Chinese market currently, pollution.

“Pollution is probably more present in China than in other countries. Our products will satisfy the Chinese consumer’s anti-pollution concerns, that is also our mission.”

Moving forward, the company plans to focus its efforts on digital marketing in 2020.

Liu elaborated: “Our focus will be on social media. Not just WeChat, but Weibo and Xiao Hong Shu as well. This will help us increase our e-commerce performance in the mainland China market.”

Another area the brand hopes to improve on is its packaging and brand visuals.

“Right now, when you look at the product, it doesn’t tell you that the ingredients are live bacteria. Currently, it looks too clean. We are not a pharmacy product. That’s not the way we are going,”​ said Liu.

She added that the company plans to have its new packaging ready by the end of this year.

“It will be dynamic and feel like there are live ingredients in the bottle. Also, it will look more prestige and premium.”

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