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Engage your Chinese Consumers Better

Pretty Chinese Men


Hello, welcome to Aim2D for Tuesday September 7th coming to you as always from the Beijing Airport Tech Zone, in sunny Shunyi. ‘cept it’s grey and raining today – again. Never mind, let’s march on John. Last Thursday we ran this story and briefly commented on the take over of cosmetics sales by males in China.

This led to an avalanche of emails – Ok, OK, exactly 3, questioning this. So, today, we will jump back in time to an article we published circa 2018 courtesy of Jing Daily. Jing Daily you will recall, is one of our “Goto” media resources for real time news and articles relating to Luxury in China.

Let’s also revisit the hairy chestnut and explain that once again, even if your product may not be considered luxury by traditional European norms, there is a fair chance it may be in China. Be that as it may, in any event, luxury is a very good bellwether or barometer of the mood and trends in Chinese consumers shopping attitude and buying behaviour.

Cosmetics and Chinese men

“I wear makeup every day” explains 22 year old, Shanghai Jiaotong university student Andy Gu. “I would never tell my father, I think he’d be pretty angry at me. But it’s not obvious – just a little bit of concealer, some brightening products to enhance my skin. It makes me feel good.”

Jing Daily

For young Chinese men like Gu, the idea that luxury cosmetics are exclusively for women is an outdated notion. Traditionally, China has been a country of unshakable gender roles. But, in an evolving modern China, the male beauty industry is booming.”

That is an excerpt from the Jing Daily publication, and as we said at the outset, it dates back to 2018. Three years on, the male beauty industry in China is still booming. In fact, if anything it has boomed more. As we have previously stated, it is difficult to the point of impossible to spend more than a few moments infront of any CCTV advertising media without being confronted by some androgynous KOL or influencer prancing, mincing and generally proudly showing off his sponsors cosmetics.

The response in China’s usually conservative and traditional society has been surprisingly muted – accepting. These pretty boys have spawned a series of spin offs by way of bands and TV shows. Until recently.

However a steady diet of sensation scandals with influencers being unable to handle their new found fame and fortune have set China’s social media alight. From being accused by steady girlfriends of indulging in all night under age sex parties to rape , tax avoidance and unpatriotic behaviour have seen them facing a different spotlight.

Brands that once fell at their feet are now falling over each to be the first to wield an axe. Consequently, some once were influencers have seen their incomes fall spectacularly as contract are ripped up. Last Thursday the state, by way of China’s broadcasting regulator banned stars with “incorrect political positions,” unethical behaviour and “effeminate” male styles from television shows and movies.

This comes hard on the heels of laws limiting how much “fans” can “donate” to their on line amateur entertainment idols. Such entertainers sing for a reward and are usually scantily clad young women, with a video feed set up in their bedroom. For some it was a (very) thinly disguised front for on line sex or prostitution.

So, the pendulum, having swing so far to the left in recent years, may be being re calibrated. What, if any impact this has on the male cosmetic industry remains to be seen. We are betting very little. The full content of the 2018 Jing Daily article by Tasmin Smith with stats and interviews we referenced above can be enjoyed here: Men & Makeup: The Changing Face of Chinese Beauty

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In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.

She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.

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If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.

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