Air pollution in China has become one of the most intensely discussed livelihood issues that the Chinese government focused on at the National People’s Congress. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared a “war on pollution” at the Communist-controlled NPC parliament in 2014. However, years later, average particulate levels in Chinese cities still do not meet the World Health Organization (WHO)’s standards. Nevertheless, as long as things do not change or improve, many have well thought about “fighting the smog” as a business. Indeed, enduring smog is good news for one section of society: peddlers of anti-pollution products. The range has grown enormously over the last few years and ranges from more sophisticated face masks and air purifiers anti-smog herbal tea.
Anti-pollution related products in China
Anti-pollution masks also called ‘kouzhao’ in Chinese, usually, cover the nose and mouth, and include cotton masks with cute designs, surgical masks, and imported high-end filters.
China’s mask enterprises are mainly distributed in the eastern region, and Bohai Rim, Yangtze River Delta Region, and Pearl River Delta Region are the major production areas. Shandong province serves as the center of the masks industry in China with another production hub, Dadian, dubbed the “mask village” for producing the cheapest pieces.
For fashionistas, Beijing designer Wang Zhijun turns high-end sneakers into face masks; one was crafted from a pair of Kanye West designed, limited edition Adidas Yeezy Boosts that were recently sold online for $10,000.
Special anti-smog products are present in China
Other special anti-smog products are present on China’s online trading platform Taobao, the nation’s equivalent of eBay and Amazon, which is chock-full with the most bizarre ones.
There are anti-smog windows and anti-smog trees. For $5,000 you can buy a truck-mounted anti-smog water cannon that drenches particles from the air. Conversely, there is also anti-smog incense, for those who want to fight fumes with fumes.
Anti-pollution skincare products are the queens
But as one of the world’s biggest skincare markets and home to some of its most polluted cities, it makes sense that Asia is leading the way.
According to the market intelligence company Mintel, anti-pollution product launches in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 40%, and the market albeit more slowly. Today there are more anti-pollution products on offer than ever.
This is easily evident from a quick search on Sephora.com that generates 185 results from the word “pollution”. Anti-pollution ingredients are especially attractive to young urban professionals who are more environmentally conscious than previous generations and willing to make lifestyle changes to look healthier and younger for longer.
Chinese anti-pollution skin care market
In the entire global anti-pollution market, the Asia-Pacific region is a key market. There are many cities with serious pollution, such as Beijing and Hebei in China, New Delhi, and Bangalore in India. Data shows that in 2016, 38% of newly launched anti-pollution cosmetics were in the Asia-Pacific market.
In the entire Asia-Pacific market, China is the core market. With regard to “anti-pollution”, surveys found that 61% of Chinese consumers expressed concern about PM2.5, and 55% of consumers expressed interest in learning more about anti-pollution products. Another survey found that 30% of Chinese consumers have bought anti-pollution cosmetics, while 40% of consumers expressed willingness or interest to learn more about trying these products.
Anti-pollution is also considered to be one of the hot trends in the Chinese market in 2018.
Examples of foreign anti-pollution products in Chinese market
“At first, just a few brands launched targeted anti-pollution products, but now, as the market develops we are seeing more brands introducing products that are specifically designed to protect the skin from pollution“, June Jensen, director of NPD UK Beauty says.
When it comes to external factors perceived to impact the appearance of the skin, 41% of facial skincare users believe pollution to have the greatest impact.
- Allies of skin
The products aim to utilize the antioxidant properties of ingredients such as Moringa and Manuka honey, which are thought to help strengthen the structure of the skin and fight damaging molecules.
Now on its seventh-generation anti-pollution complex, the French brand was one of the first on the market in 1991. Spokesman Lucas Petry said the company’s products are enriched with plant extracts like African ebony, Furcellaria, Alpine sanicle, and Lampsana to protect skin from free radicals, treat scarring and soothe irritation.
By building a fine hydration protective layer, Korean brand Tony Moly’s Dust and the City Face Locking Cream prides itself on its efficacy in absorbing fine dust, pollution, and smoke. Formulated with Phyto-clear leaf complex for its anti-oxidation power, and rice extract that gently protects the skin from harmful external air, the cream protects the skin and keeps it well-hydrated.
How to market your anti-pollution cosmetics products in China?
Whether it’s a mask, a cream, a tea, or a carpet – even in the anti-pollution market, we need the right marketing strategy.
Start from branding in China
Branding is absolutely critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. Branding can change how people consider your brand, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness.
A professional appearance and well-strategized branding will help the company build trust with consumers, potential clients, and customers.
This is especially true when it concerns the Chinese market because Chinese consumers are quite suspicious about brands that they don’t know. Before purchasing a certain products, they rely on online recommendations and opinions of former users.
Build your Chinese site to be more reliable
The most important factor for any Western business looking to promote their company in China is the creation of a localized Chinese website, that will appeal to customers in China.
This is achieved through what could be considered Chinese website design by carefully matching literary attributes and stylistic elements to those found on other Chinese websites. Developing your own localized Chinese website has great potential for your business in China.
Moreover, keep in mind that your website should be hosted in China or nearby in order to offer your users a better surfing experience.
Expanding your anti-pollution products across Chinese social media
Social Media drives approximately 50% of e-commerce in any part of Asia. It is also fundamentally changing the way Chinese people communicate on a daily basis, replacing traditional mobile phones and communications channels in both personal and professional.
For example, WeChat started as a messaging app now is one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps, if measured by the number of active monthly users, over 1.2 billion. As well as the usual messaging and posting it can be used to play games, order food, pay bills, read the news, book appointments, and many more day-to-day functions. Its reach and influence are way above that of any other online platform in China.
KOLs partnership: key tool to sell anti-pollution products in China
In China, KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) marketing can represent over 30% of marketing resources for global/mature brands, and 80% of marketing resources for independent brands newer to the Chinese market.
What’s more, more than 50% of China’s digital consumers use social media to do product research or get recommendations. Overseas companies that want to expand over the Asian continent need to use these KOLs to drive more traffic and raise brand awareness.
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