Clinique wins it all in China

The American brand is more and more imposing itself in China for its quality products.

Clinique story

In 1998, the American group Estée Lauder decided to create the first allergy tested and dermocosmetics products brand in the world : Clinique.

estée lauder

Since Estée Lauder exported itself in China starting in 1993, thus the group also decided to export its new brand there.

Its search engines reputation

The most used search engine worldwide is Google, hence in China, it is censored. That is why Chinese users are doing their research on the Chinese Google, Baidu. I had to check the Clinique reputation on Baidu.

On Baidu by typing the keyword « Clinique, » the four-first results are :

  1. The Chinese website of the brand
  2. The American website of the brand
  3. Products of the brand sold on the Chinese e-commerce leaders,
  4. And their Baidu Baike page (Chinese Wikipedia, the American one is also censored)
Clinique Baidu

We see a dominance of the Chinese websites of the brand. Clinique owns a good enough reputation on sera engines in China. Plus, it does not happen a lot but the American website of Clinique appeared as the second choice on Baidu.

Its marketing strategy on social networks

In China, American social networks are also censored. Thus, Twitter and Facebook are unavailable here without a VPN connection. I also checked the marketing strategy of the brand on the 2 main Chinese social networks Weibo (the Chinese Facebook) and on WeChat (the Chinese Facebook Messenger).

In Chinese social networks, results are not critical.

  • Weibo: almost 215 000 subscribers.
Clinique Weibo

On WeChat, the number of subscribers can’t be known, however, the number of posts can. Thus, the brand posts at least 1 article per week. This figure is quite good. Thus, the marketing communication of Clinique on Chinese social networks is of good quality. Similarly, with Twitter, it attracts several Chinese consumers.

I also check the results of the brand on Youku (the Chinese YouTube). Hence, I noticed that the brand doesn’t have a channel on Youku. Indeed, the videos of the brand that we can see on YouTube are almost unfundable on Youku. By contrast, one Youku channel has been created for Clinique but this one is not the official one. It seems like it’s being managed by a consumer or a fan of the brand.

Cosmetics market trends

In China, cosmetics market trends are really high. To compare with the makeup ones which are really basic. Chinese women mostly use several products such as :

  • Makeup remover (liquid, gel, cream, oil, milk…)
  • Face cleanser (with an additional action like whitening)
  • Moisturizer cream
  • Serum
  • Mask (liquid or tissue masks)
  • Body cream
  • Face mist…
tissu mask

The products proposed in the West are less numerous, we are the opposite, Chinese people use basic makeup products while we prefer using basic dermo-cosmetics products.

When you’re looking for the Clinique brand on the two Chinese eCommerce leaders in Chine,, and Tmall, just like the Clinique online shopping website, products that we find here are adapted to Chinese culture, that is to say, there are a lot of different types. Plus, on Tmall, the brand benefits from its own home page :

  • moisturizer cream (liquid, cream, gel…), serum, tonic…
  • Tmall: moisturizer (liquid, cream…), lotion, tonic, serum, accessories.

Half of the products of the brand proposed on both sites adapted products to the Chinese consumers with various actions such as whitening, clarifying, and oil control… to attract them more.

Its retailing process

Just like I just said, Clinique products are sold at the same time online and at stores. Thus, online, Chinese consumers can buy on the brand online shopping website, nevertheless, they are not used to doing so, they prefer to order on Chinese websites such as the 2 main Chinese online retailers and Tmall.

Clinique JD

Clinique results on

On, the sales of the 250 products of the brand are done by the website itself. Indeed, Clinique is a supplier and then the website takes care of the delivery. On Tmall, it’s different because the brand owns its own home page on the website.

Clinique Tmall

Clinique home page on Tmall

Regarding the stores, Clinique owns 100 of them around China. Unfortunately, none of them are in Shanghai. Its retailing process thus looks enough to implant itself in China, but opening stores in Shanghai which is a quite rich city could be a good way to earn more Chinese consumers.


Its market shares

Regarding market shares of the brand, it is impossible to get to know the figures only for China. Plus, since the brand is a creation of the American group Estée Lauder, the market shares of this last one come first. Indeed, Estée Lauder is by itself a brand really popular in China. Besides, it owns first place on the Baidu rank of the best foreign brands in China (Premium Beauty News).

Estée lauder 2

Estée Lauder campaign

Although Clinique has been built 100% by Estée Lauder, the brand succeeds in distinguishing itself from its creator thanks to its reputation of being a supplier of high-quality products at a reasonable price. In China, being a cosmetics brand, it reaches quite easily to make a name inside Chinese consumers’ minds. Indeed, it is part of the big foreign brands which have their own home page on a Chinese eCommerce leader website. Even though the prices are high, their products sell well thanks to the idea of high prices for high quality when it comes to foreign brands. 

If you want to know more about marketing in China, click here.

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