Cosmetic surgery advertising received a scathing rebuke from Chinese state media recently, where commenters criticized its pervasive and excessive claims.
China’s People’s Daily newspaper commented on the ubiquitous nature of the advertising which appears everywhere from bus stops to live-streaming platforms.
In a country where state media attention tends to predict the attention of Chinese regulators, it could mean concern for investors in the cosmetic surgery industry.
And, indeed, Chinese market regulators published guidelines in August for the medical aesthetics sector’s advertising practices, claiming that they stoked societal anxieties over appearances.
The market value of three of the nation’s biggest publicly traded medical aesthetics companies has plunged by more than a third since July. The loss represents $17 billion in assets and could just be the tip of the spear if state leaders decide it’s as disruptive to social wellbeing as online tutoring.
The newspaper went on to target ads that associate attractive physical appearance with success and those that distort the perception of beauty. It ended with an urgent call to regulate the advertisements.
And the cosmetic surgery industry has certainly taken off in China, expected to reach $46 billion by 2022. Chinese residents are willing to spend increasingly more of their income to finance cosmetic surgery procedures in hopes these lead to future financial success.
China has seen a boom in demand for plastic surgery, especially procedures to widen the eyes or raise the nose. Despite the growth, or perhaps because of it, providers have been criticized for not warning people about potential risks.