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Feature: At Canton Fair, French perfumer eyes China's raw materials, brands

Updated: May 5, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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People visit the 133rd session of China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, April 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Deng Hua)

GUANGZHOU, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Attending conferences, and meeting with old friends and business partners, French perfumer Janek Kozeluh has a tight timetable for April. Still, he squeezed time to attend the 133rd China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou.

"It is my great pleasure to come to the Canton Fair again for many interesting new products. It is really impressive," said Kozeluh.

Kozeluh, who started his company called Aroma-France about 40 years ago in Europe, sells aromatic concentrate to his customers, allowing big cosmetics brands to blend their own products by using the concentrate provided.

In the 1980s, Kozeluh got the chance to visit China. He attended the Canton Fair for the first time, looking for unique raw materials ideal for his concentrate products.

As Kozeluh recalled, agricultural products used to account for a large proportion of the exhibition. It was easy to find interesting leaves, sticks, roots and flowers that European and American customers had never tried to use in creating perfumes, said Kozeluh.

"Today I have cooperation with Chinese suppliers for raw materials, also for packaging, glass bottles, cartons, pumps, jar caps and everything about cosmetics," said Kozeluh.

Traditional Chinese medicine has also attracted Kozeluh's attention. He has experienced treatment in hospital using traditional Chinese medicine, which he recalled as "interesting and efficient."

As a country with a variety of climates and a long history, China has a tradition of investigating and using natural materials, including different herbs and flowers. Also, with its economy developing at a rapid speed, the country has seen more original and innovative products in recent years. These are the key elements that Kozeluh thinks could catalyze the emergence of China's original perfume brands.

"China is on the verge of creating its own brands, because it has a long history, various raw materials, and all the opportunities to succeed. Very soon there will be famous Chinese perfume brands," Kozeluh said.

The process of creating China's own famous brands, according to Kozeluh, can be challenging due to severe competition and the high risk of original product failure.

"But it should not kill the creativity to find a fantastic new product," said Kozeluh, adding that perfume companies often follow the general trends and learn basics at the beginning. At a certain point afterward, the companies must push for a breakthrough to make original products.

"That's where I can help. I can give advice from the markets and experience working in the industry to help my customers design bottles, caps, and packaging, and the best time to launch the new product. These are small things, but we must collaborate to make great success," said Kozeluh.

For Kozeluh, goods on display at the Canton Fair represent only a small part of what China can produce. During his trips to China, he often visits factories, and talks with friends and business partners, while also attending conferences and fairs.

"It is very important to select the right partners to collaborate and try to develop new products. I'm glad that every time I meet with my regular Chinese suppliers and customers, we bring each other new ideas and products, and grow together," said Kozeluh.  

Editor: Li Shimeng