After dictating Chinese women's make-up styles for more than a decade, international cosmetics and skin-care product makers are now ready to brush up male beauty consciousness on China's mainland.
The trend has brought both opportunities and challenges to local counterparts.
Last month, Aupres, a brand created by Japan's skin-care giant Shiseido for the mainland, launched its JS men's collection. Last weekend, Shiseido invited JS Ekin Cheng, a popular Hong Kong star, to promote its skin-care, hair-styling, cleansing foam and fragrance products.
"Our survey shows there is demand among Chinese men for skin-care products specially designed for them," said Masashi Kamata, marketing and sales director of Shiseido Liyuan Cosmetics Co. Ltd., Shiseido's joint venture in China.
At present, the JS-collection products are available at 12 Aupres outlets and a JS counter in No. 1 Department Store in Shanghai. The company plans to open another JS outlet in the city by year's end. Since 1967, Shiseido has developed five men's skin-care collections.
"It's a challenge to enter a budding market," Kamata said. "With more international and domestic com-petitors, it will eventually become prosperous."
Annual cosmetic consumption in China is 28 yuan (US$3.4) per capita, compared with US$36 to US$70 in developed countries, according to statistics released at the 15th Guangdong International Beauty, Hair Style and Cosmetics Expo in June.
Last year, annual sales of cosmetics, including skin-care products, in the nation hit 35 billion yuan, an increase of 7 percent over 1999. Analysts said sales will likely grow 11 percent this year. "The men's sector, which hasn't been developed, is a gold mine," said Zhu Meixia, director of the up-scale product division of Shanghai Jahwa Co. Ltd., a leading Chinese daily products maker.
Shanghai Jahwa first introduced its G.LF men's fragrance to the local market in 1990, and launched the G.LF men's skin-care line three years later, said Zhu.
"The arrival of international brands will help promote beauty cons-ciousness among local men," Zhu added.
Other international companies said most of their products for women are also suitable for men.
"Many men are sharing our basic skin-care products with their wives or girlfriends," said Lucy Xu, com-munications manager of L'Oreal China. "Some even use up-scale brands like Vichy and Lancome."
(eastday.com November 28, 2001)