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Healthplex Expo 2018
Natural & Nutraceutical Products China 2018

20-22 June, 2018 SNIEC, Shanghai, China

Industry News

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Interview with Mr. Zhang Zhongpeng from CCCMHPIE on Overseas Nutraceuticals to China's Market

Mr. Zhang Zhongpeng is the deputy director of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE). He is devoted to coordinating and promoting the international trade of medicine and health products and analyzing the trade statistics of the market home and abroad. As one of the speaker in the 4th Nutraceutical Industry Development Conference, Mr. Zhang will analyze the situation and regulatory requirements of nutrition and health food import and export. In the interview, Mr. Zhang answered few questions regarding the situation of exporting overseas health food and ingredients to China's markets.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: How accessible is the Chinese market for international ingredients companies? Have you seen a growth in the number of international companies entering the market recently?

Mr. Zhang: Because of the rapid growth in the Chinese market, many famous ingredient suppliers in the world are working hard on the Chinese market. In addition to BASF, DSM and other giants that have entered China, many other famous brands such as Nutrex are also intensifying their promotions in China. Many ingredient companies are considering entering the Chinese market.

They can enter China by (1) Finding an agent in China, which is responsible for selling and promoting ingredient products; (2) Producers in China directly purchase ingredients from overseas producer of ingredients to produce nutrition and health food; (3) Setting up an office in China; the mother company sends people to promote the market; when it is proper, establish branch or subsidiary in China, such as what Aker does; (4) Establishing a JV or wholly-owned foreign company in China to localize production and sales.


UBM Sinoexpo: 
What are the main barriers to entry for international companies looking to import health products into China?

Mr. Zhang: For international companies, the greatest barrier is that they don’t have sufficient knowledge about the Chinese market, the law, regulations and standards in China. To enter the Chinese market, they have to understand the policy environment, market needs and habit of use in China; history of using health products in China, features of traditional health products and future market development in China, etc.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: Which regulatory hurdles do companies need to consider when looking to import to China?

Mr. Zhang: The overseas companies have to understand that, first, China has many newly-launched policies; second, the government regulations are changed much too often.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: How do the regulations vary depending on the product or category?

Mr. Zhang: For health food, the products are managed in the registered or filed approach depending on the different ingredients. Also the materials submitted are different relying on made-in-China products and imported products; and there is difference between the first-time import registration and second-time import registration. In accordance with Regulations on Registering and Filing Health Food, the following products can be filed, (I) Health food whose ingredients have been listed in the catalog of health food ingredients; (II) The first-time imported health food that falls into the category of nutrients such as supplementary vitamins and minerals. The first-time imported health food should have the nutrients of supplementary vitamins and minerals included in the catalog of health food ingredients. The others should be registered.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: Can you explain some of the recent changes in regulations, particularly around food safety measures for imported goods? Why have these changes come now?

Mr. Zhang: Recent health food policies and regulations are mainly issued on the permit of health food, focusing on the filing regulations. Many specific bylaws have been issued. For instance, CFDA recently issued the Catalog I of Health Food Ingredients and Catalog I of Health Functions that Health Food Is Allowed to Claim. At the same time, the health food filing will be initiated since May 1, 2017. After that, CFDA will collect opinions on the specific rules of health food filing, regulate the form of filing health food and urge the submitting of supplementary materials for nutrition products.

Changes of regulations represent the classification of health management while streamlining process for products with better safety. CFDA has issued Bylaws of Sample Inspecting and Supervising Health Food in China (2017 version). According to regulations, only those marked with Blue Cap and registration number are health food, including the imported health food. Pre-package of imported health food must have label and manual in Chinese language and the contents on them must be authentic and correct while meeting requirements in laws and regulations. Products cannot be imported if they don’t have qualified labels or markings.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: Are there any plans for changes or reviews of legislation in the near future?

Mr. Zhang: Recently, there is no plan of changing laws or regulations. China just issued and implemented the bylaws governing permit of health food launched into the market. It is hoped the government can issue and implement regulations on health food filing as soon as possible.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: You also support Chinese companies in exporting goods globally. What are the main things for Chinese companies to consider when exporting goods to other regions?

Mr. Zhang: When exporting to overseas markets, health food companies in China should understand health product regulatory system in the country, make survey of target consumers, market layout of existing health food, major marketing channels, popular brands of health products, and the functions of existing health products, etc. The following should be given special attention: (1) means of product accessing the market; declare differently in accordance with laws and regulations of different countries; (2) make elaborate analysis of the target consumers and potential users in the market, including their age, education background, life habit, occupation, income, their notions of health products, and channels of purchasing health products, which will influence export of health food; (3) pay attention to supervision of the Chinese government over exporters, such as inspection and quarantine of the exported goods, etc.


UBM Sinoexpo:
Which regions have the strictest regulations?

Mr. Zhang: The countries have their respective regulatory system. China has strict regulations on permitting health food into the market; US and some other countries levy very high fines against those violating products in the market and regulate strictly the in-market products; China, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, USA, UK and Germany have well-developed laws and regulations.

 

UBM Sinoexpo: What are your predictions of the health and nutrition market in China in the next 3-5 years?

Mr. Zhang: In the next 3-5 years, health and nutrition industry will continue to expand because of the aging population in China, incentive policies and constant rise of per capita disposable incomes in China. At the same time, the industrial structure and consumption structure are also upgrading. Furthermore, the “registration + filing” system will stimulate development of the industry. As more supporting policies are in place, and as many factors work, it is expected that market of nutrition and health products in China will witness rapid growth in the next 3-5 years. At the same time, China will have higher requirements for nutrition and health products. 


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