The key points for success in selling your cosmetics in China.


China doesn’t let any  foreign company enter its cosmetics market so easily. In recent years Chinese consumers have become increasingly aware and cautious about cosmetics. To make sure that things go as smoothly as possible your entry of the Chinese cosmetics market you need to understand a few things first. Amongst them are the right distribution channels, the true potential of this market and its opportunities will be discussed in this article.

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Registering your cosmetics takes a long time


Increasingly stricter health regulations have made it more difficult for foreign companies to enter this coveted market. To give you an idea more laws and regulations have been enforced in 2010 and 2011 than in the 20 years before that.

Here is a basic explanation of the procedure

Your company can not do it alone. Instead it must appoint a Chinese agent that will deal with the case

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Two certificates:

Record keeping certificate for what the SFDA calls “ordinary cosmetics”

It takes 4 to 6 months to get through the whole process

You may have to pay between 10000 and 30000RMB


For the license for imported cosmetics said “specific” we are talking about

  • Between 8 and 15 months for obtaining the license
  • Between 20,000 and 60,000 RMB cosmetic product for specific use without counting the cost of risk assessment or testing on humans .
  • Between 80,000 and 100,000 RMB for each new ingredient
  • Technical test must be done

You must therefore anticipate if you want to sell your products for major yearly events in China as the Chinese Valentine’s Day or Single day

The latter is designed to test any cosmetics including new ingredients and/or cosmetics that belong to the “specific use cosmetics category”

The problem here is as follow :

Given that to have a competitive edge you often have to find new ingredients, it may become a hassle even for a simple shampoo that otherwise would have been classified as an “ordinary” cosmetics product. Registration and licence are tricky procedure you must be well aware of to reduce the risk of being denied access to this very promising market.

Distribution is strategic

The main distribution channel for cosmetics are

  • Supermarkets mass market mostly
  • Distributors that will have access to a wide variety of retail points
  • Specialized shops like Sephora or Watson where you will most likely find middle high to high end cosmetics
  • Spa where are mainly high end brands such as Herborist
  • Online platforms like Taobao or Tmall whose growing influence matches the general rise of the e-commerce in China. This translates into a growing number of Chinese customers buying online

Professional in selling cosmetics via e – commerce, we can help to ensure the profitability of your store or Tmall Taobao


Distributors must be trained and supervised

Distributors must be properly trained, managed and receive constant support to ensure the long term validity of your strategy on the Chinese market

Not meeting these requirement means that you will quickly hit a wall. Products without brand, renown or image won’t sell well or even not at all. As a consequence distributors will jet you down.

On the other hand, should you follow those guidelines you will ensure that your business and marketing strategy will stay efficient with your distributors working well

20% growth for cosmetic sector in the 2nd and 3rd tiers cities

While the first tiers cities such as Shanghai and Beijing are saturated, the 2nd and 3 have a yearly growth of 20 % which is c. Chinese customers of these cities with growing purchasing power so they can afford to buy more cosmetics , and of better quality.

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The biggest market in the world

According to 2013 data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the cosmetics market in China is RMB 162.5 billion , or 21 billion euros . This makes the Chinese cosmetics market the largest market for cosmetics in the world.

This growing market reflects a growing demand from Chinese consumers. This is not only larger but also more varied and consumers alike . It is no longer just women who use cosmetics but also men. The male sex is also seeking improved his appearance through the use of this type of product like never before. Women, when their part, are increasingly used in cosmetics for a more professional appearance in their careers



The Chinese market is a difficult market to integrate yet it is a market with significant potential , with a good strategy will be very promising in terms of sales , and growing your business .

The digital figures prominently in China with a growing number of consumers buying online , so this is the perfect tool to reach your customers , provided you pay attention to several things :


If you are more visible than your competitors on keywords specific to your product offering will you more traffic than your potential competitors , and better at that.

A good online reputation .

As mentioned above, consumers have become more demanding and more attentive to the quality of purchased products. They particularly fear the counterfeits that prove hazardous to health. Ensure a good online reputation helps you to attract unsuspecting consumers themselves spread a positive message about your brand and products

To ensure proper integration in the Chinese cosmetics market to increase your sales and know the difference from your competitors he experts Chinese digital you.

If you are looking to integrate the Chinese cosmetics market do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and ask for our case study