Gov't Supports Cosmetics Firms' Targeting of Chinese Consumers

      January 25, 2012 10:41

      Korean cosmetics manufacturers plan to develop products that fit the needs of consumers in overseas markets, such as a skin lotion that matches the dermatological conditions of women in Shanghai, or sun blocks that can withstand even the sizzling ultraviolet rays of the Philippines.

      The Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Tuesday that it has conducted skin tests on 400 residents of Shanghai as part of a project to create a database of skin types according to different countries. The government wants to use the database to help small and mid-sized cosmetics manufacturers develop competitive products for exports.

      The ultimate aim of the database of skin types is to gather the skin characteristics, make-up patterns and common dermatological problems of people in different countries and help domestic cosmetics manufacturers develop effective products targeting customers in those areas.

      The structures and functions of skin vary depending on age, weather conditions, dietary habits and other variables, while different cultures have their own standards of beauty. A skin study on 1,100 people in Korea, China, Japan and France conducted by Chanel showed that Chinese women developed wrinkles around their eyes at an earlier age than Korean or Japanese women.

      The results of the study showed that skin aging progressed at different rates among people in different countries. Another skin study by L'Oreal on 2,000 Chinese women showed that 36 percent had sensitive skin, while in Sichuan Province, where residents favor spicy food, the figure was as high as 56 percent.

      Multinational cosmetics giants are using the findings gained from a wide range of skin tests conducted on potential consumers in target countries to develop their products, but they do not share such data.

      And when it comes to domestic cosmetics companies, only a handful of large manufacturers conduct such tests, while smaller players have difficulties getting their hands on such data.

      Now, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has rolled up its sleeves to help them. From May to December of last year, the ministry conducted tests on 400 men and women between the ages of 20 to 50 living in Shanghai and had them fill out a questionnaire. The tests gauged the amount of moisture in their skin, the number of clogged pores, skin elasticity, wrinkles, pigmentation and other dermatological characteristics, as well as make-up patterns, preferred shades of make up and common skin problems.

      "The Chinese cosmetics market is worth US$13.7 billion and is growing continuously," the ministry said. "The data gathered from the study is being analyzed by an advisory committee composed of academics and industry and medical experts."

      The committee plans to announce the results of the study at a seminar scheduled for next month. A ministry official said, "We plan to conduct similar studies in Beijing, China, and two other Southeast Asian nations this year."

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