Cosmetic surgery is making millions of people happy in China. Those going under the knife are happy for their sharper, younger looks, and companies for the money the surgeries are raking in – the industry is worth more than $77 billion.
The total value of cosmetic surgeries in 2015 was around 500 billion Yuan (around $77.16 billion), a state media report quoted an industry survey as saying on Friday.
With a solid 15% growth rate every year, the industry is expected to touch 1 trillion Yuan by 2019, making it the world’s largest market.
Why is cosmetic surgery so popular in China?
The answer could be in what Sadie Zhang, a manager at a Beijing-based medical skincare company, told state-run China Daily newspaper: “Good appearance helps relationships and work…Even teenagers have come to us for a better look. It is no longer a treatment only for celebrities.”
The newspaper report said: “Corporate employees, government civil servants and businesswomen accounted for more than 70% of the number of people using medical beauty services in 2015, suggesting the advantages and benefits brought by good looks. But, the newcomers participating in such treatment are getting younger each year.
It suggested that the age group of those opting for the surgeries is falling. “Twenty to forty-year-olds demand entry level or skin enhancement, while those who are in their 40s choose more anti-ageing treatment,” it said.
Wang Qianqian, the mother of a three-year-old, spent 50,000 Yuan (about Rs 5 lakh) to tighten the skin on her face and remove spots on her cheeks.
“It is the most valuable investment I’ve ever made,” Wang, a senior executive of an internet and culture company in Beijing, told China Daily. “I am more confident since my face skin looks tighter and brighter.”
The internet too is fuelling the growth of the industry.
“Internet platforms have emerged as a new way for cosmetic surgery institutes to attract customers as traditional advertisers are costing them too much,” said Lou Jun from a venture capital firm.
But there are problems in the industry. “The main problems facing China’s cosmetic surgery industry are non-transparent costs and lack of trust on quality. Many Chinese customers instead go to nearby South Korea, which is well known for its plastic surgery,” Zhang Bin, head of the Chinese Association of Plastics and Aesthetics, told official Xinhua news agency.