China focus: Most-read stories on China’s cosmetics industry

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

A round-up on our top stories on China’s lucrative personal care market. ©GettyImages
A round-up on our top stories on China’s lucrative personal care market. ©GettyImages

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A round-up on our top stories on China’s lucrative personal care market, featuring the Chinese expansion ambitions of Black Chicken Remedies, AOBiome, Virospack and Symrise.

1 – Black Chicken Remedies aiming to expand into Asian market as ‘clean’ trend grows

The CEO of Aussie beauty and wellness brand Black Chicken Remedies believes the brand has growth potential In Asia’s budding clean beauty space​.

Black Chicken Remedies was born over a decade ago when founder and CEO Chey Birch blended a body oil to treat her own skin condition.

Since then, the brand has expanded to an entire range of beauty, health and wellness products spanning over 50 SKUs. The brand’s best-selling product is its all-natural deodorant, which has won several accolades in Australia.

“When we first brought out the deodorant, everyone said: are you kidding? You want me to touch my armpit? Today, we are under one million armpits and growing,” ​said Birch.

Today, the brand’s oil cleansers, tongue scrapers, and deodorants are available across Australia, the US, Dubai and parts of the pacific.

The company is currently looking to expand into Asia to further drive the growth of the business.

2 – Same, but different: AOBiome aims to capture China market with Mother Dirt “twin”

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

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.

3 – Nose for opportunity: SCGE International eyes lucrative potential in Asia’s fragrance market

Singapore-based company SCGE International has launched a new prestige brand, Ange Gardien​, to capitalise on the rapidly growing fine fragrance market in Asia.

Ange Gardien launched early December in Singapore with a range of seven perfumes – five ladies’ and two men’s scents – that were produced entirely in France.

The fragrance launch is only the first phase for the brand. Moving forward, SGCE will be expanding the line to include more products centred around women’s beauty lifestyle.

The company has been distributing beauty and personal care products for the past decade or so and is backed by a Chinese company that operates a chain of beauty salons in China under the same name.

Ange Gardien is currently distributed in China through the SGCE-owned beauty salons.

“For China, a lot of time, it's based on network distribution. Our network in China is based on beauty salons, where the point-of-sales are made. These beauty salon owners will make the final to the patrons that visit them for beauty services,’ ​explained Claudia See, branding manager of Ange Gardien.

4 – Premium potential: Virospack targets China expansion as domestic industry goes upmarket

Dropper maker Virospack believes there is huge potential in China’s domestic market​ as more local beauty brands begin to position themselves in the premium category.

The veteran cosmetic dropper company began extending its presence in China in 2018. At the end of 2019, the company opened a dedicated office in Shanghai to further cement its commitment to the market.

“China is very new for us, but we see a lot of potential. Many of our products are already in the Chinese market through the big international companies but we want to work directly with Chinese brands because we see a lot of potential there,” ​said Felipe Rodríguez Caneiro, Asia Pacific area manager, Virospack.

More specifically, the firm sees plenty of opportunity in the premium beauty space, added Joanna Milne, account manager, Virospack.

“We know that prices of European-made products are much higher but today Chinese companies are willing to pay for the service and the high quality. We do see many such companies are willing to pay a premium to have their product made in Europe. There’s a market here for it definitely.”

Caneiro has observed more local beauty brands aiming to position themselves in the premium category today.

5 – Scent of a nation: Symrise sees Chinese millennials as the future of fine fragrance

Symrise has sought to decode China’s fragrance identity​ and connect with the all-important Chinese millennial demographic.

The firm held its Scent Fiction event alongside Cosmoprof Asia 2019 and explored China’s identity and youth culture through eight specially crafted scents.

The exhibition was a multidisciplinary cross-collaboration between the fragrance supplier, NEZ magazine, artist Alan Chan and design agency Somexing.

Julie Deschamps, creative director of Symrise Asia Pacific told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company’s aim was to conduct an “olfactive exploration of Asian youth culture”.

“It's super important to understand the millennials in Asia, and especially in China because we realised that the China market is growing for fine fragrances, but they don't understand a lot about perfume.”

The firm believes the young Chinese consumer is growing more curious about fine fragrances because of their exposure to Western influences and love of luxury goods.

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