The cosmetics industry is a lucrative business, with a global market valued at $511 billion in 2021. The country of China has become one of the world’s largest consumers in this industry (second after the USA), making it an attractive target to sell your cosmetics products. However, before you jump at the opportunity to enter this huge market, there are certain regulations that you should be aware of first. This blog post will give you insight into what these rules are and how they can affect your company’s success in China. We’ll also provide some information about popular brands currently selling their goods in China for inspiration.
Some Data about the Cosmetics industry in China
- China’s beauty and personal care market is the second-largest in the world, after the United States. It has a value of over $38 billion currently!
- In 2019, the online retail sales value of cosmetic products in China amounted to approximately 194.4 billion yuan. It’s an extremely profitable industry, in fact, this number was forecasted to exceed 350 billion yuan by 2024. Around 70% of those purchases will be made via e-commerce, largely on Tmall and JD.com from Alibaba Group Holdings Limited or Jumei Incorporated respectively.
- The Chinese men’s skincare market is forecast to hit $1.9 billion this year, and is projected to reach around 2.8 by 2025 with the highest growth at a rate of 3%.
- The Chinese cosmetic industry is the fastest-growing market in the world in recent years. The main consumer groups for cosmetic products are between the post-80 and post-90 generations, who are highly aware of product updates and have a strong inclination towards appearance and trends. As a result, several cosmetic brands have witnessed the collaboration with KOL and beauty bloggers and have incorporated advertisements to increase cosmetic sales.
It’s true that China is a flourishing country when it comes to beauty products; however, there are some tricky parts about this opportunity as well. Regulatory compliance in China for cosmetic manufacturing should not be taken lightly because of possible fines or other issues with law enforcement officials – they’re strict on laws like these here in their homeland.
China adopts new regulations for Cosmetics Goods
Chinese cosmetics manufacturers are getting ready for a brand new array of regulations that went into effect last month. The National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has issued a list of new rules that manufacturers should abide by :
- Cosmetics Efficacy Claim Evaluation Standards
- The Technical Guidelines for Cosmetics Safety Assessment
- Cosmetics Classification Rules and Catalog
- Provisions on Management of Registration and Notification Dossiers for Cosmetics and Cosmetic Ingredients
All of the above are designed to guide the implementation of Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulations (CSAR). Cosmetics manufacturers and brands are eager to have their products registered in the NMPA system, due to much stricter new requirements for product registration and notification. Regulation regarding cannabis extracts in cosmetics was also announced. The following cannabis-based ingredients were marked as to be prohibited :
- CBD / Cannabidiol
- Cannabis Sativa kernel fruit
- Cannabis Sativa seed oil
- Cannabis Sativa leaf
In the past years, a large number of CBD-based cosmetics have managed to enter China, especially through e-commerce cross borders, however, it has been confirmed that the ban will apply to all brands selling on the Chinese market.
What are some of the regulations for beauty goods in China
In China, the most important cosmetic legislation is Regulations Concerning Hygiene Supervision over Cosmetics. The main authority for cosmetics is National Medical Products Administration (NMPA). Both domestic and imported cosmetic products require pre-market approval or notification before they can be placed on the Chinese market. To enter into the Chinese market, a few steps must be taken to ensure compliance with China cosmetics regulations:
Appoint a Chinese responsible agent
A foreign company must appoint a Chinese agent to apply for the NMPA license in a written power of attorney. In fact, the company cannot register its cosmetic products on its own. The responsible Chinese agent may be a Chinese subsidiary, distributor, or third party (e.g. a consultancy company). It is essential to consider the pros and cons before choosing your agent.
REGISTRATION- All imported cosmetic products must be approved by the NMPA
Cosmetics products classification
According to Reach24H, cosmetic products are divided into two categories:
- Non-special use cosmetics (non-SUC)
- Non-special use cosmetics include skincare products, hair care products, nail care products, make-up and perfumes.
- Non-SUC products require a pre-market filing and can be imported after the filing has been finished while the technical review is carried out during post-market surveillance.
Registration process includes:
- Appoint a responsible agent in China
- Product dossier
- Submit dossier to NMPA for administrative review
- Technical review
- Registration certificate
Special use cosmetics (SUC)
Special use cosmetics include products such as hair growth products, hair dyes, hair perming products, depilating products, breast beauty products, slimming products, deodorants, freckle-removing products, sunscreens, and whitening products. According to CE.way, imported SUC products require a pre-market registration and can only be imported after getting approval from NMPA.
The filing process includes:
- Appoint a responsible person in China
- The responsible agent applies for NMPA account
- Prepare dossier
- Submit dossier to NMPA for administrative review
- E-filing certificate
- Technical review
The regulatory requirements for cosmetics imported into China depend on how they are classified. Soaps, toothpaste and oral cleansers all fall under the category of non-special use products that can be directly shipped to China after customs clearance. Special-use cosmetic items require more rigorous testing before being approved by Chinese authorities.
Cosmetics ingredients classification Regulation in China
Some products may fall into both categories and their classification depends on their composition.
In China, cosmetics ingredients are classified into two types:
- Existing cosmetic ingredients which can be found on the list called Inventory of Existing Cosmetic Ingredients in China (IECIC).
- New ingredients: Cosmetics that contain new ingredients require separate pre-approval from the NMPA before it can be introduced in cosmetic products destined for the Chinese market. If three years pass without incident, then the new ingredient is included in the catalog of ingredients accepted for use in cosmetics production in China.
TESTING- Cosmetics must be tested in NMPA-designated testing Institutions in China
Even if your cosmetics have been tested overseas, you still need to send your cosmetics to a designated NMPA testing institute in China for testing. For all cosmetics, hygiene safety tests are mandatory. Tests might include a sanitary chemical test, microbiological test, toxicological test, and human safety tests.
Animal testing is required for imported cosmetics products but has been waived for domestic non-special use cosmetics since 2014. China is reducing the requirements for animal testing for cosmetics and is working on establishing alternative methods and verification institutions.
Labeling – in accordance with the Regulations
Prepare the labels for your cosmetic products in accordance with the Regulations on Cosmetic Label Management and the National Standard: GB 5296.3-2008 General Labelling for Cosmetics.
According to the 2008 Chinese regulations on the administration of cosmetic labeling, a complete list of ingredients must be reported on all cosmetic product labels. The ingredients must be listed in Chinese. The provisions also regulate the formatting of cosmetic labels and the content allowed or prohibited to be indicated on the labels.
The manufacturer has to list the following information, in Chinese, on the product’s label:
- Product name
- Name and address of the manufacturer
- Net content
- Product ingredients
- Shelf life
- Manufacturer license, product standard or administrative approval code
- Safety marks and product literature
According to China’s 2010 Naming Requirements for Cosmetics, the name of a cosmetic product should be concise and easily understandable. It must not intentionally mislead or deceive consumers.
The Cosmetics Naming Guidelines list expressions prohibited in cosmetic product names. Banned expressions include:
- “Special effect”
- “Total effect”
- “Powerful effect”
- “Absolutely natural”
Product names must not explicitly or implicitly indicate a false medical effect by using expressions such as:
In addition, the names of celebrities in the medical field are not allowed to be used in product names.
Custom clearance for Cosmetics goods in China
After you’ve completed all the above steps, your products are ready to be imported into China. There is a chance that they will have their documents inspected and go through quarantine at the port of entry.
The importer needs to show the hard copy of the NMPA license and provide the port Certificate of inspection with:
- Licenses and hygiene certificates
- Safety assessment data on materials with potential safety risks
- Certification that allows production and sale in the country of origin
- Certificate of origin
- Digital code
- Sample of Chinese label and foreign label
- Information on the quantity and weight of the product
Imported cosmetics are subject to tariffs when they enter China and the amount of import duty varies on what kind of cosmetic product it is. For example, skin care products have a 1% tariff rate while makeup has 5%.
GMA provides a wide choice of marketing and promotion solutions to help you grow your business in China. We offer a complete panel of solutions: digital, marketing, and distribution services for consumer goods, in beauty, cosmetics, healthcare products, and fragrance. Contact us!