Provincial Food & Drug Administration Authorities Will Be Responsible for Approval of Imported Ordinary Use Cosmetics in China

15 May 2013, China’s State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform (SCPSR) has officially announced the new organization structure of the reformed food & drug administration authority in China (previously the State Food Drug Administration, now called China Food & Drug Administration) and their strengthened responsibilities on the administration of food, drug, medical device and cosmetics.

One of the biggest changes for cosmetic companies is that imported ordinary use cosmetics will need to be registered with food & drug administration authorities at provincial level in the future, rather than the state authority in Beijing under current system. However, the detailed rules for this have not been published.

CIRS has summarized some other differences that could have potential impacts on cosmetic companies and cosmetics registration in China.


Current System

New System

Name & Level

SFDA, Semi-ministerial body

CFDA, Ministerial body

Imported ordinary use cosmetics

Approved by SFDA in Beijing

Approved by Food & Drug Administration Authority at Provincial Level

Production license for cosmetics & compulsory inspection

Authority: General Administration of Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the PRC (AQSIQ)

Authority: CFDA

CIRS’s Comments

The reform is good news for foreign companies who wish to place ordinary use cosmetics on Chinese market because the duration of cosmetics registration may be shortened. It is also good news for new cosmetic manufacturers in China because they now have one less government body to deal with. However, for consultancy firms in Beijing, this might not be good news because they will lose their location advantages.

Background Info
Imported cosmetics are divided into two classes: ordinary cosmetics and special use cosmetics. Each class requires different type of license from CFDA

Type of Product

Required License

Who Shall Apply?

Ordinary cosmetics
hair care, nail care, skin care, perfumes and make-up

Record-keeping Certificate

A Chinese responsible agent appointed by a foreign manufacturer

Special use cosmetics
products for hair growth, hair dye, hair perm, hair removal, breast shaping, fitness, deodorizing, spots removal and sun block

Hygiene License

(More expensive and time-consuming)

New Cosmetic Ingredient

Hygiene License


Contact Us

If you would like to obtain the final or draft version of IECIC or would like to check if your substance is approved for use in cosmetics in China, please contact:

Ms April Guo, CIRS China

Specialized field: application for hygiene License, record-keeping certificate for imported cosmetics, safety evaluation of cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients, standard labelling for cosmetics, SDFA registration, CIQ label, etc.

  • Ms April Guo, China Office
    11F Building 1, Dongguan Hi-Tech Park, 1288 Chunbo Road, Binjiang District, Hangzhou 310052, China
    Tel: +86-571 8720 6555 | Fax: +86-571 8720 6533

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