Business / Industries

Changing women help generate world's third largest beauty market

By Yu Ran in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-15 07:39

"As one of the hottest choices among young women, the domestic brand of botulinum toxin costs about 2,000 to 3,000 yuan per injection, which requires the person to continue application every half a year if she wants to retain the firmness of her face," said Zhang.

As a follower of micro cosmetic surgery, Yang Xi spends about 4,000 yuan quarterly on Botox injections. To 24-year-old Yang, this is a necessary investment to continue looking young.

"I don't feel ashamed that I have undergone micro cosmetic procedures as I wasn't born with a slim face. I know I have the choice to change it to become more beautiful through injections or wearing makeup," said Yang, who is planning to get injections for her nose as well as undergo double eyelid surgery this year.

"There is no turning back when it comes to cosmetic surgery, but I don't regret it at all," said Yang.

Aesthetic standards

From the perspective of professional cosmetic experts, Chinese beauty standards have been increasingly influenced by their Western counterparts.

"Wide and round eyes, white skin and high nose bridges are seen as ideal for Chinese consumers, who tend to be wiser with their decisions on cosmetic surgery-from seeking long-term effects to accepting temporary and safer products," said Wang Tso-hsuan, the chairman of Taiwan Nice Clinic, who has been regularly invited to attend consulting events in the Chinese mainland since 2010.

As Wang recalled, the first time he was invited to give a speech in the Chinese mainland six years ago, there were only two imported products (Botox and Restylane) for cosmetic surgery available to local consumers. Today, there is a considerable range of imported products in the market.

"The rise in popularity of non-surgical treatments here in China is a natural movement of the cosmetic surgery industry. Soon, such treatments will fall under the daily beauty care category, similar to hair care and skincare treatments," said Wang.

However, not all experts view eye to eye with many clients regarding this matter.

"More and more students are seeking plastic surgery as they believe changing their looks can boost their self-confidence and bring them more opportunities in life," said Tian Hong, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. "But this isn't the only way to attain beauty. Young people shouldn't pin their hopes on cosmetic surgery."

Cosmetic procedures abroad

The growing trend in China can be traced back to the mecca of plastic surgery-South Korea. With 20 percent of women aged 20 to 49 in Seoul saying they've gone under the knife in order to look good, the country is home to the largest number of people in the world who have undergone plastic surgeries. The revenue of this industry in South Korea in 2013 exceeded $60 billion, accounting for 4 percent of the country's GDP.

Such is its reputation that South Korea has become the top destination for Chinese consumers seeking the latest procedures. Statistics from South Korean's Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs showed that the number of Chinese people entering the country for such purposes jumped from 791 in 2009 to 56,000 in 2014.

"In China, the consumption in plastic surgery and beauty care has become the fourth largest growth engine following real estate, automobiles and tourism, in addition to its nearly 1.4 billion population-it is a promising market to explore," said Lee Kil Sung, chief operating officer of Yestar International Medical Beauty Group, a South Korean brand that entered the China market in 2005.

Another popular cosmetic surgery destination where consumers pay relatively lower costs is Taiwan. In fact, competition has been so stiff in Taiwan that 160 clinics have closed or gone bankrupt in the past two years, said Wang.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks