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

Related tags China

A round-up on our top stories on China’s lucrative personal care market, featuring the expansion ambitions of Colorite Cosmetics, Aromababy, Bormioli Luigi and more.

1 – ‘Not just a China brand’: Firm behind Summer Palace lipsticks confident on international expansion

The company behind Chinese make-up brand Catkin is pushing to expand its global footprint as it believes there’s a growing demand for its products overseas.

Catkin is most well-known for its collaboration with the Summer Palace, which featured a range of regal lipsticks inspired by Empress Dowager Cixi’s favourite residence.

The viral collection was launched in March 2019 and was quickly sold out on Tmall within 24 hours. According to reports by local media, the company sold more than 4,000 of the ‘empress-style’ lipsticks during that time.

Today, Catkin is one of the leading cosmetics brands in the domestic market. In addition to its online business, it has over 6,000 counters in various shopping malls and beauty stores across the country.

Jane Chow, sales director at Colorite Cosmetics, the manufacturer behind Catkin, claimed that the company has seen dramatic growth since it launched its Chinese heritage-style designs in 2018.

“Since 2018, we have grown by several times, maybe even up to 10 times because of our lipsticks. We can easily sell 100,000 lipsticks every month,” ​she said.

2 – Rules, processes and traditions: How TCM herbal ingredients differ from other botanical extracts

Nutri-Woods Biotech is on the cusp of global expansion but says there is a lot more education to be done to explain how traditional Chinese herbal ingredients​ are different from other botanical ingredients found in personal care products.

Established in 2014, the company supplies traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) herbal actives. In four years, it ranked among the top 100 private enterprises in China.

The company has primarily been operating in China but is working to expand into new markets.

“Moving out of China presents us with more possibilities to expand the business. It's about time. We can't just keep selling in China, one day it will hit a saturation point. We're being realistic,” ​said Michael Kwan, market development director and international trade co-ordinator of Nutri-Woods.

The firm recently signed a deal with L'Oréal Group to become a global supplier, said Kwan. “All these big companies are looking for something different, something new. We are going to explore how we can work closer together.”

3 – Baby boomer: Aromababy looking to strengthen its position in China as category rockets

Australia-based natural baby care brand Aromababy is aiming to solidify its profile in China where it sees tremendous opportunities amid the rising consumption of baby care products.

The company was founded in 1994, by Catherine Cervasio. Using her experience in personal care product development, Cervasio aimed to develop a range of natural infant care products backed up by scientific research.

Currently, Aromababy products are distributed in top retail chains in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore. It is also available in China, where it is sold through cross-border e-commerce channels.

Even though the brand has been around for two decades, Cervasio said the company has observed a surge in demand for their products.

“In the last one or two years we have seen an enormous change in the market. We were plateaued for 10 years, then we saw a 30% increase. Right now, we’re working on one contract that can triple the company’s revenue,” ​said Cervasio.

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.”

5 – ‘Just a matter of time’: Italian glass maker eyes potential growth in Asia’s skin care market

Glass specialist Bormioli Luigi is looking to expand its business into Asia Pacific in order to capitalise on its strong skin care market.

A bulk of the company’s business is derived from the luxury fragrance market, which mainly involves European companies and brands.

However, it has recently observed growing opportunities in Asia Pacific’s skin care market.

“At the moment, we don’t have much business in Asia. However, we are starting to grow a little in the skin care market. Our customers are doing well mainly because they sell their skin care product in Asia. Skin care is very strong in Asia, the growth is certainly higher and stronger than in Europe,” said ​Federico Montali, business development and marketing manager, Bormioli Luigi.

This development has led the company to turn its attention to Asia, particularly, China.

“The European retail market is flat, and the US retail market is nearly flat. All the growth our customers are seeing comes from Asia. That’s why we are looking into local brands from China,” ​said Montali.

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