Beauty Market: How to Export Cosmetics to China

In recent years, the Chinese beauty market has been booming. The demand for cosmetics and skincare products has been steadily increasing, making it a lucrative market for exporters. If you’re looking to export your beauty products to China, there are a few things you need to know. In this blog post, we will discuss the regulatory requirements for exporting cosmetics and skincare products to China, as well as some common pitfalls to avoid. We will also provide some tips on how to successfully navigate the Chinese beauty market. So if you’re thinking of expanding your business into China, read on!

How to Export Cosmetics to China: Registering at the CFDA

To sell cosmetics, you need to first obtain a hygiene license. We’ve compiled a brief list of the necessary steps in acquiring a hygiene license for your beauty products.

  1. Finding a Chinese Associate: Filing an application for registration at the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) requires a lot of back and forth between gathering documents and submitting them. You need a trusted Chinese agent to help you out. They’ll be in charge of filing all of the necessary documents and applications to Chinese authorities and ensuring that your items make it past customs. They will also help you obtain an import license.
  2. Prepare All Documents and Testing: Your agent will submit all of the necessary documents for your application. This phase also requires a test for your products; when you export cosmetics to China, authorities ensure that they are safe to use and won’t become a threat to consumer safety.
  3. Application Process for Hygiene License: Although you need a Chinese agent to gather most of the documents, the application for the hygiene license is available online. Check the requirements and make sure that you have the appropriate materials and paperwork to proceed. This includes items such as the product’s ingredients, a detailed explanation of how they were produced, certificates of quality standards, and more.
  4. Waiting for Approval: Once the requirements have been met and the application has been submitted, you must wait for the CFDA’s approval before you export skin products to China. Additional documents or procedures may be requested, so make sure to keep your Chinese agent in the loop to avoid delays.

What to Consider Before Exporting Beauty Products to China

Aside from applying for a hygiene license, there are a few other things that foreign companies must take into account before they export cosmetics to China. Here, we’ve listed some of the most important things to research beforehand. Find more about regulations on exporting cosmetics in China here.

Animal Testing for Beauty and Skin Care Products in China

Animal testing has become a sensitive topic in the beauty and skincare industry, as many believe that animals shouldn’t be subjected to such procedures for the sake of producing beauty products. This is why animal testing was been banned in several parts of Europe and highly criticized in other Western parts of the globe. In the Western market, more and more brands are becoming “cruelty-free” as a result of the fight against animal testing. On the contrary, the practice is actually required in China.

The Chinese beauty industry has been heavily criticized because of this law, but unfortunately, it is still a requirement if you want to export beauty products to China. However, it’s worth noting that the Chinese government is gradually taking action in finding better alternatives. In September 2020, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU in hopes of abolishing animal testing as a requirement for Chinese cosmetics. They have also been collaborating with a non-profit organization, the Institute for In-Vitro Sciences, to find kinder alternatives.

Similar to the hygiene license, take note that your items will be exempted from this law if you are selling them through a cross-border online retail platform.

What to Include on Your Product Labels

Chinese authorities tend to be strict when it comes to details like labeling. Before anything else, you must secure a Chinese Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) sticker for your products so they can pass through customs clearance. Product labels should have both English and Chinese translations so that consumers will be able to assess and understand their purpose.

Your items must also have this information printed on the label:

  • Name of the product
  • Manufacturer address
  • Net content
  • Code for hygiene and manufacturing license
  • Complete list of ingredients
  • Information about the shelf life
  • Instructions regarding the purpose and usage


Distribution in China is certainly an important channel that you want to have a look at, and like every other channel, it has its pros and cons that you can find out here. There are a few different ways to find Chinese distributors for your cosmetics brand.

  • One way is to attend trade shows in China that are specific to the cosmetics industry. This is a great way to meet potential distributors and get your products in front of them.
  • Another way is to use a business-to-business (B2B) platform like You can create a profile for your company and product on Alibaba and connect with interested distributors directly.
  • Finally, you can also work with a sourcing agent or distributor who specializes in connecting foreign companies with Chinese businesses. By working with someone who already has established relationships in China, you can save time and effort in finding the right distributor for your cosmetics brand.

Platforms to Utilize Once You Export Cosmetics to China

There are many platforms wherein foreign companies can promote and sell their products. We have provided two of the most popular examples below.

  • Sell your Cosmetics brand in China Through Tmall: TMall is the largest online retail and eCommerce platform in China today, so it’s a given that you will gain access to a vast number of Chinese consumers once you apply to become a seller for the platform. Cosmetics and skincare have entered the list of TMall’s most popular products, securing the top 3 spots below fashion and maternity products. If you want to export cosmetics to China through TMall, foreign companies are required to pay a $5,000 service fee, a deposit of up to $25,000, a 1% processing fee, and a 3% commission fee with each product.

Cross-Border E-Commerce: Exporting Cosmetics to China without a License

Based on the licensing process stated above, it’s clear that the process to export skin products to China can be long and tedious, especially with the number of requirements you must accomplish before proceeding with the actual export. Cross-border eCommerce allows you to export beauty products to China without obtaining a license. Cross-border eCommerce and online retail are the ideal pair for foreign companies that are looking to branch out into the Chinese market without going through the registration process.

Consumer confidence in product authenticity on cross-border e-commerce platforms in China

This form of eCommerce allows foreign companies to export beauty products to China with ease. As the orders are placed, overseas manufacturers can ship the items directly to warehouses and customs channels. Some examples of these cross-border eCommerce platforms are TMall and JD, which we will talk more about later in the article. The convenience of having high-quality cosmetic companies at the consumers’ fingertips has contributed to the beauty industry’s rapidly growing popularity.

  • JD Worldwide: JD is most commonly known as an eCommerce platform that focuses on selling electronics and appliances, so the demand for cosmetics and skincare is understandably lower compared to a fashion-centered platform like TMall. However, cosmetics still stand at number 6 on the list of JD’s top products. This is a great opportunity for beauty product sellers because JD is the second biggest eCommerce platform in China after. If you want to export cosmetics to China through JD, foreign companies are required to pay a $1,000 service fee, a deposit of up to $15,000, and a 1.5%–5% commission fee with each product.

How Popular are Cosmetics and Skin Products in China?

In 2020, the retail value of cosmetics reached over 52.3 billion USD. This milestone has caused China’s skin and beauty industry to climb to the top as the second biggest market for beauty products today, falling right below the USA in terms of ranking. As the largest market for cosmetics, the United States has become understandably saturated with various companies hoping to offer their own take on beauty items. This is why many foreign companies and sellers have become determined to export beauty products to China, targeting a completely different audience with a potentially higher chance of generating sales and revenue.

As the production of unique cosmetic lines and new kinds of skincare continues, China’s skincare and beauty market only continues to grow. With the advancement of social media and technology, eCommerce for skincare and beauty products has become increasingly popular, growing in strength on popular online retail platforms such as TMall, JD, and many others.

Understanding the Chinese Market and Consumers

Appealing to the Chinese market can be tricky at first since their standards and interests are quite different when compared to those of the Western market. If you’re planning to export beauty products to China, then you must adjust to the consumers’ preferences. Here are a few things we recommend you research while planning in terms of marketing.

The Importance of Influence and Recommendations

The Chinese market relies heavily on what fellow consumers think about a certain product. They are naturally skeptical when it comes to unfamiliar brands and products and prefer using items that already have a lot of reviews online. Some of the best ways to gain the trust of Chinese consumers are to utilize social media efficiently to promote the items, collaborate with KOLs, and encourage your customers to give your products a chance by regularly interacting with them online.

Once you begin generating sales, kindly ask your customers to leave a review of your product. This way, they can vouch for your credibility as a seller.

Brand Loyalty Among Chinese Consumers

As stated before, the Chinese market has rapidly risen to the top of the chain as one of the leaders in the beauty and cosmetics industry. That being said, Chinese consumers tend to go through different brands because they have a wide array of both foreign and domestic products to choose from. Foreign companies who export beauty products to China must find an edge over their competitors to gain the trust of Chinese consumers and encourage them to become loyal customers.

Foreign companies can keep up by staying up to date with the latest fashion and beauty trends in China, localizing their products to suit their audience’s preferences. Although Chinese consumers love famous and well-known brands, they also prefer buying products that provide the best results. Once they see that the product has met their expectations, they often continue to use it.

Preference for Foreign Products

Foreign companies thrive due to the Chinese market’s love for imported goods. Many companies use this to their advantage by emphasizing the foreign aspect of the product in their packaging and advertising. To distinguish imported skincare and beauty products, the packaging and labels often contain a picture of the country’s flag or vivid text stating that it is manufactured in another country. Chinese consumers love premium and high-end products, and it seems that this is what they associate with foreign cosmetics.

Foreign brands tend to have a reputation depending on their country of origin. Japanese and Korean brands are loved for their skincare products since both countries served as catalysts for the industry’s widespread success. European countries, like France or Germany, are known to use advanced and cutting-edge techniques in producing their cosmetics based on Chinese consumers. With that in mind, consumers often look for foreign brands first when buying cosmetics and skincare.

Popular Cosmetic and Skin Care Trends in the Chinese Market

Trends consistently change throughout the years in every industry, and China is no exception. These are today’s two biggest beauty trends in China:

  • Male cosmetics and skincare are quickly rising in popularity in the Chinese market. In 2019, the growth rate of male skincare reached 31%, going beyond women’s skincare which only stood at 29% at the time. Young men seem to be becoming more conscious of their appearance and thus have begun taking extra measures to care for their bodies. This trend was mainly inspired by foreign industries such as South Korea, which was one of the first countries to popularize and support the beauty of male skincare.

Today, cosmetic lines and skincare products for men are continuously being produced and are considered one of the most appealing categories in the beauty industry for Chinese consumers. If you decide to export skin products to China, then we recommend trying your hand at male skincare to take advantage of its rising popularity.

  • Cosmeceuticals: If you aren’t familiar with the term “cosmeceuticals”, it’s essentially a combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. As the name suggests, it brings these two components together to create an optimized product to treat the skin. The Chinese market and consumers enjoy these types of products because they aim to improve the condition of their skin by eliminating blemishes, preventing wrinkles, and making it feel smoother to the touch, among other things. Despite their healing and rejuvenating properties for the skin, authorities have prohibited cosmeceuticals from being sold as medical products. If you are planning on exporting skin products such as BB cream and anti-acre treatments to China, take note that the label must explicitly state that it should not be used for medical purposes.

Want to export your cosmetics product in China?

Feel free to drop us a request, we will be happy to discuss your project in China and let you know more about the Chinese Beauty market.



    Do i need to apply a license to export Italy products such as shower gel, body wash and shampoo into China?
    what is the process and fee?

    • A

      China, yes you need
      Alternative is ecommerce crossborder

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