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

Changing women help generate world's third largest beauty market

Cui Shuang, a dermatologist at Shanghai Major Young Plastic Surgery Hospital, administers a treatment for a client. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Despite the risks that surround non-surgical injections and cosmetic surgery in China, an increasing number of Chinese women are spending fortunes to have these procedures done

There used to be a stereotype in China that only ugly people required cosmetic surgery. But times are changing, and fast.

Zhou Jianjing, who is in her 30s, has a wish list of cosmetic procedures and she's going to attempt to check every item off, citing fears that she might one day look older or worse than her peers.

"Some of my friends have gotten certain injections to get a face lift and a narrower chin. I need to deal with the minor changes to my face to keep up as well," said Zhou, who is thinking of getting a botulinum toxin injection, commonly known as Botox, for a slimmer face. Zhou is also considering hyaluronic acid injections for a firmer nose.

Micro cosmetic procedures, such as the two Zhou is mulling over, have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. Unlike plastic surgeries that often come with long-term or permanent effects, these non-invasive injections produce effects that last from three months to two years.

Even though these injections aren't devoid of their risks, many women in China have adopted positive attitudes toward them, mainly due to demands in their career and personal life, as well as social perceptions.

"I believe that more Chinese women across different ages will be urged to take action and accept micro cosmetic surgeries as the norm. Pursuing beauty is a lifetime mission for us women," said Zhou.

An industry in boom

According to statistics released during a news conference held by the Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics in November 2015, China's plastic surgery industry has burgeoned with a yearly growth rate of 30 percent over the past three to five years. It is expected to become an 800 billion yuan ($122 billion) market by 2019, surpassing countries such as the United States and Brazil to become the third largest source of cosmetic surgery clients.

"The definition of plastic surgery has changed. It is no longer just ugly people who want to undergo changes to their face. Now, it is more like getting the icing on the cake for already good looking people," said Zhang Xiaofei, a doctor at Shanghai Ximei Medical Cosmetic Clinic.

Zhang has worked as a cosmetic doctor for more than 10 years and he has witnessed a major change in his clientele-there are now more young people looking to enhance their facial features and they see plastic surgery as an acceptable and quick method to do so.

"The total sales revenue earned by non-surgical procedures grew from 10 to 40 percent in the past five years. Such procedures are the preferred option for consumers who are only in their 20s," said Zhang, who performs cosmetic treatments for about five clients every day.

Zhang added that Botox injections have been very popular among young people, especially women who have just graduated from university as they believe that improving their looks can give them an edge in applying for jobs and finding boyfriends.

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