China's plastic surgery market is growing at a rate six times faster than the global average, according to a recently published report by a mobile app focusing on the industry.
According to the survey co-conducted by the SoYoung app, as well as consulting agencies Deloitte, CICC and ISAPS, in 2017, some 14 million Chinese people are expected to receive some form of cosmetic surgery, a 42-percent increase year-on-year. With a global figure for 2017 estimated at around 34 million, Chinese patients are expected to account for around 41 percent of the global cosmetic surgeries.
However in terms of market value, China ranks only third in the world, behind the U.S. and Brazil.
Under 25 in China, above 36 in the U.S.
As the market booms in China, the driving force of consumption differs drastically from those in developed markets.
In China, consumers under the age of 35 account for 96 percent of the total number of people receiving plastic surgery. But that figure is almost the opposite in the U.S., with 75 percent of patients being over the age of 35.
Moreover, according to the report, over half of the Chinese patients are under 25 years old, in pursuit of wider eyes, higher noses, and tender skin.
Rising demand vs lack of qualified clinics
The report also pointed out that the booming Chinese market is facing enormous challenges, mainly due to the explosion of unlicensed clinics employing under-qualified physicians, while overcharging patients and using fake drugs.
The prevalence of unlicensed clinics is well illustrated in China's southern city of Dongguan, which has 43 licensed institutions and over 6,000 illicit ones
Unlicensed clinics may use counterfeit cosmetic drugs, which can cause severe health problems. Although there are still no official statistics on deaths related to botched plastic surgeries, media reports of such cases abound.