China – Chinese cosmetics regulation and key differences with the EU

China’s cosmetics industry has experienced rapid development and demand for cosmetics in China has increased significantly over recent years. Many foreign cosmetic companies are looking at ways to become a part of this fast-growing market.

The Chinese market represents many opportunities, but it also has its challenges. One of the challenges is the Chinese cosmetics regulation, which can be frustrating for many foreign companies. It is therefore important to become familiar with the regulation and be aware of all the requirements that need to be met in order to ensure compliance of your cosmetic product.

The approval process for cosmetics in China

China has two categories of cosmetics – non special use cosmetics (non-SUC) and special use cosmetics (SUC), and the approval process differs for the two categories. Non- SUC have to go through the pre-market filing process, and SUC are subject to pre-market registration.

Cosmetics have to be filed or registered to the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), which is considered the main regulatory body for cosmetics in China.

Filing of non-SUC in China cannot be done without assigning a responsible person (RP). RP has to be the importer, and he also needs to be based in China and have a cosmetic business license. His main responsibility is the safety and quality of the products, and he is also responsible for the filing process.

Registration of SUC, on the other hand, requires the company to designate a responsible agent (RA). RA can be any legal entity based in China, and his only responsibility is the registration of the product.

The first part of the process is similar for both registration and filing. Both RP and RA first have to set up an NMPA account. After that, they can arrange to test for cosmetics. Cosmetics need to be tested at the NMPA approved lab, regardless of whether they have been tested abroad or not…