Bryce Whitwam
Jun 20, 2023

From China to the world: C-beauty eyes global expansion

SHANGHAI ZHAN PODCAST: Riding a hype wave and a reputational shift, Chinese beauty is at the cusp of becoming the next big industry trendsetter. Can it surpass the challenges to exert the cultural influence of K- or J-beauty?

A collection of C-beauty brands
A collection of C-beauty brands

Stéphane Wilmet, the former chief consumer officer at L'Oreal China, shared his expert insights on the burgeoning influence of Chinese beauty trends, known as "C-beauty", on the global stage. Wilmet, a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in the consumer beauty industry, underscored the depth and sophistication of C-beauty, both from a scientific formulation ingredient level and a cultural perspective.

He confidently stated, "C-beauty is something that is and will be exported."

Wilmet's insights come at a time when the beauty industry is witnessing a shift in global trends. The rise of C-beauty, according to Wilmet, is not just about the products themselves, but also the knowledge and sophistication of Chinese consumers.

"The level of expertise of a Chinese consumer when it comes to skin, hair, beauty is unparalleled. The knowledge of what goes into a formula of the ingredients, why the ingredients, and what concentration. This level of sophistication is impacting how global beauty products are being made,” said Wilmet.

Wilmet also touched upon the potential of Chinese brands to compete globally. Drawing parallels with other industries where Chinese brands have made their mark, he stated, "Once a Chinese brand is strong in its home market, definitely it has an opportunity outside of China. If we forget the beauty industry for just a few minutes, and you look at other industries, cars phones entertainment like TikTok, you see Chinese brands that are winning outside of China."

Wilmet credits China for providing him a unique perspective on productivity. “In China, you learn scale and you learn speed. And there’s no other market where you can learn how to scale beauty at such speed. You either catch the Chinese high-speed train, or you stay behind.”

Stéphane Wilmet's interview is available on the Shanghai Zhan podcast.  

ShanghaiZhan, hosted by industry veterans Bryce Whitwam and Ali Zein Kazmi, offers a deep dive into the intersection of marketing, advertising, technology, and platforms in China. With over 20 years of experience in China and fluency in Mandarin, the podcast hosts provide unique insights into this dynamic landscape. ShanghaiZhan is available  Apple PodcastsSpotify, GoogleAmazon MusicStitcher, and Xiao Yu Zhou. Visit for more information.

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