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Alibaba deal fastracks cosmetics certification in China

Alibaba Group has signed a deal with Zhoushan Free Trade Zone, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, that speeds up the cosmetics certification in China for Tmall brands who want to import non special-use cosmetics.

This agreement, signed between the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant and two Zhoushan City government agencies, cuts the approval time down from a typical six to eight months to just three months, Alibaba said.

The expedited service could be a major boon for brands that wish to accelerate the launch of their products in China, as they move to keep up with the rapidly changing tastes of the Chinese consumers, said Jet Jing, the head of Alibaba’s B2C marketplace Tmall.

According to Chinese regulations, non-special-use cosmetics are products that do not have any specialty functions, such as lipstick and eyeshadow. Specialty items, such as sunscreen or freckle-removal cream, are not included in this agreement. Currently, nearly 80 per cent of the cosmetics sold on Tmall are non-special use, Alibaba said.

The deal, effective immediately, is result of a policy enacted in March last year through which the China Food & Drug Administration accelerated the approval time for first-time imported non-special used cosmetics at the Shanghai FTZ. Since then, 11 FTZs nationwide, including Zhoushan, have been granted permission to offer the same expedited approval by centralising all the necessary testing agencies in one location.

In China, only the very first shipment of non-special-use cosmetics undergoes this kind of testing. After that initial approval, all other testing is random in order to ensure that the quality of imported cosmetics is maintained. Alibaba emphasised that all required documentations and testing remains the same under the new scheme.


  • Alizila is the independent (but Alibaba-funded) source of news on Alibaba Group activities.



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