No one disputes the opportunities in China when it comes to the beauty category. According to Euromonitor International, China’s $62.8 billion beauty market is on track to expand 33.9 percent by 2023. Multinational strategics have all reaped the benefits of the growth coming out of the Chinese market; however, LVMH has employed a unique strategy. While the brands in their portfolio are present in the market, three years ago they launched a C-Beauty brand called Cha Ling with the goal of not only capturing the Chinese consumer on their turf but also to gain market insight from an insider’s perspective.
According to an LVMH press release, the Cha Ling beauty line was born following an encounter between Laurent Boillot, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Guerlain, and two passionate environmentalists: German biologist Josef Margraf and his Chinese wife Li Ming Guo. The three gathered with the ambition of trying to protect the natural beauty of the beloved Yunnan province, the territory that produces some of China’s finest teas, including the cherished Pu’ Er tea.
“It took the magic of meetings, established relationships, a magnificent location, shared values and a lot of synchronicity to create the spark,” said Laurent Boillot, Founder of Cha Ling and CEO of Maison Guerlain.
Cha Ling is actively committed to preserving this unique Chinese cultural heritage, placing priority on sustainable and environmentally responsible production of the tea cultivated from 500-year-old trees by the area’s indigenous Bulang farmers. Sustainable supply contracts ensure a regular income for families and strict specifications guarantee the origin and traceability of ingredients.
LVMH-backed Cha Ling has merged the heritage and know-how of the French luxury conglomerate with Chinese cultural values and expertise, resulting in a brand that venerates the richness of Chinese history. Launching in 2016, the Cha Ling brand definitely has timing on its side. According to Euromonitor, the total retail sales of skincare products in China accounted for $30 billion (212.2 billion RMB) in 2018, while the total volume of makeup products reached $6 billion (42.8 billion RMB), representing year-on-year growth of 13.2 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively.
According to Vogue Business, the brand has doubled its revenue every year since launch, and now has 33 dedicated employees across France and China. Boillot says that Cha Ling won’t be ready for greater expansion for at least two years.
Photo: via LVMH