Mark Tanner
8 March 2021 0 Comments

China has removed its animal testing requirements on imported general cosmetics from 1 May 2021, if certain requirements are met.

The new regulations from China’s NMPA (National Medical Products Administration) outline the requirements for exemption from mandatory animal testing. To be applicable to see cruelty-free cosmetics in standard trade in mainland China, a producer/product must:

– Provide relevant quality certifications from their country of origin;
– Provide sufficient safety and risk assessment materials confirming the safety of the products;
– Not be aimed at children or babies;
– Not contain any raw materials not included in China’s approved raw materials list; and
– The applicant, China representative and producer of the products have not been identified as requiring further supervision by authorities.

If a beauty product is produced by more than one producer, each entity must secure the official certification to sell in China.

The welcome changes create a fairer playing field for all cosmetics brands selling in China. Beauty products manufactured in China have been exempt from the mandatory animal testing since 2014, and French cosmetics, since January this year. This amendment is long overdue.

Brands like Jurlique, NARS, L’Occitane, Yves Rocher and Caudalie had backtracked on their cruelty-free stance in order to sell in China. We will be watching with interest if they alter any of their policies and return to not testing on our fury friends.

Based on insights from our Skincare and Beauty Trackers, consumers place very low importance on cosmetics not tested on animals. This is likely to change with more cruelty-free brands entering China and building awareness, and an increase in pet ownership leading to a wider affection for animals. Nevertheless, brands will need to lead their positioning and messaging with more than just a cruelty-free stance to sway Chinese consumers.

Cruelty-free brands will now be able to sell in physical stores in mainland China, and not just cross border ecommerce and from bonded warehouses in free trade zones. Although cosmetics is the category with one of the highest portions of products sold online – 50% by some measures – selling in bricks & mortar provides another persuasive touch point to build awareness, reinforce a brand and encourage trial. They will have a positive impact for cruelty-free brands who have a thoughtful strategy to integrate these touch points.

Contact China Skinny about developing an effective online and offline strategy, or to learn more about our Skincare and Beauty Trackers to enjoy deep, real-time insights about the category.

Further information including the new regulations are available in a downloadable Word document from the NMPA site (in Chinese).