2017 marked Thai Ho’s eight consecutive year at the China Beauty Expo. Thai Ho Group’s Chairman, Guo Jingkai reflected on the Taiwanese company’s experience in China with pride and gratitude. Mr. Guo first came to Shanghai in 1990 and has since seen it boom from an undeveloped city to a global trade hub. During the same period, Thai Ho Group grew from a new venture to a leading global company dedicated to the research and development of make-up products.
Thai Ho Expands from Asia to the World
Founded in 1980, Thai Ho built its R&D base in Taiwan and then expanded to Shanghai in 1990. Initially, the company exported all of its products to large international brands. Five years ago, local brands began showing interest in Thai Ho products. Guo researched the market in detail, finding that China’s skincare market grew rapidly after 2000. The period of 2000 to 2010 became the “golden decade” for skincare products. Make-up products followed on the heels of the skincare market. China’s post-1990s generation and now post-2000 generation have emerged as China’s leading make-up consumers. Guo predicts, “More than 70% of China’s consumers will use make- up products.” So, Thai Ho has begun to expand its presence in the local market.
China’s removal of its 30% tax on cosmetics last year has given an even bigger boost to the market. Daily make-up application is already commonplace in Japan, the US, South Korea, and Western Europe. Guo sees the same trend emerging in China, expecting, “The period from 2016 to 2016 is certain to be the “golden decade” for make product development,” in China.
This growth in make-up consumption in China creates an important opportunity for Thai Ho to capitalize on its strengths. Currently, Thai Ho’s local clients include major brands including Chando, KanS, BINF, and Yalget.
In addition, Thai Ho has research centers and production facilities in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and France. Each time an international brand commissions Thai Ho to develop a new product, Thai Ho will also introduce the same product or technology into China and identify strong potential local brand partners. With a strong foothold in Asia, Thai Ho is now setting up production facilities in New York and Japan to expand its global presence.
R&D and Intelligence Manufacturing Capability Guarantee Quality
To compete in the rapidly growing make-up segment, Thai Ho has created over 10,000 unique formulations across its 37 years of experience. Its formulations are reportedly valued at more than RMB 500 million. Guo added, “More importantly, with more than 10,000 formulations, state-of-the-art equipment, and 37 years of experience, Thai Ho has obvious strengths.”
Thai Ho also is the only listed Taiwan-based company dedicated to research and development that has been accredited by China National Accreditation Service (CNAS) for compliance assessment. This means that Thai Ho’s laboratories meet CNAS and globally-recognized quality standards. Thai Ho is one of only two companies in China’s cosmetics industry that have CNAS-accredited laboratories.
Nationally-accredited laboratories ensure the quality and safety of raw materials used by Thai Ho. According to Guo, when raw materials first arrive in their warehouses, they are stored in the inspection area and randomly sampled for testing.
Thai Ho Leads in Smart Technology
Despite historic preferences for international brands, many of these overseas-made products have not be adapted to Asian or Chinese skin types. Guo believes that these purely foreign products, “are not that suitable for Chinese consumers.” Guo questions, “Why should consumers reject national brands in favor of overseas ones?” Moreover, Thai Ho has become a global leader in applying smart technology to make-up manufacturing.
Thai Ho’s Dr. Guo has always been demanding. He cites, “I used to be fat, so I asked my team to develop a product to help people lose weight without doing exercise. So, whitening and slimming body lotion was created. In make-up removal, melanin can remain if make-up isn’t removed thoroughly, making the skin vulnerable to freckles. So, I suggested adding ingredients that contribute to the breakdown of melanin. So, we created whitening make-up remove….” Now, Thai Ho boasts a growing reservoir of smart technologies. Guo says, “Thai Ho spent a lot of itme developing these new products. We believe that every product launched in the market must be superior.” In the future, Thai Ho plans to integrate more medical technology into its products to create more accurately-targeted medical cosmetics.
In the era of information transparency, information such as consumer preferences for specific formulas and preferences of different age groups and different regions for different products is vital for product planning. Reducing losses and risks is a great challenge for companies like Thai Ho. Guo says, “Once a company has become large, it must also become socially responsible. In the future, we will build a large database to help clients create very precise product lines. We can do this by aggregating data on consumer sentiment and product usage. This will be the first of its kind in the world – and developed in China!”