Chinese Skin Care Giant Proya Fined for Mislabeling Product Concentration

SHANGHAI — Chinese skin care giant Proya Cosmetics has recently been fined by Hangzhou West Lake District’s Market Supervision Authority for a misleading product description that labeled an antiaging serum as containing a higher concentration of active ingredients than it actually did.

Proya Cosmetics claimed Proya’s Elastic Brightening Youth Essence contained “2% ergothioneine” and “1% decarboxylated carnosine” on major social media platforms such as Douyin, WeChat Mall and Xiaohongshu. But a test conducted by the local authority showed that the actual concentration was 0.001 percent and 0.1 percent for the two ingredients, respectively, according to the penalty decision.

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As a wholly owned subsidiary of Proya Cosmetics, Zhejiang Meiligu Electronic Commerce Co. Ltd., which was in charge of operating the company’s e-commerce business, was fined 200,000 renminbi, or $28,346, and ordered to discontinue the misleading advertisement on e-commerce sites, according to the ruling.

According to local media reports, Proya Cosmetics said the mistake, which failed to differentiate “the solution of the raw material and the actual concentrate in the product,” was due to human error and apologized for confusing consumers.

Proya Cosmetics, known for popularizing the “Morning VC (short for Vitamin C serum) Night VA (short for Vitamin A serum)” skin care regime, is the owner of eight skin care, beauty and hair care brands, including Proya, Timage and Off & Relax.

Despite supply chain strains and COVID-19-induced lockdown woes in 2022, the company recorded 37.82 percent year-over-year growth to reach 6.385 billion renminbi, or $904.95 million, in revenue in 2022.

Net profit increased 41.88 percent year-over-year to 817 million renminbi, or $115.8 million.

As the company’s star brand, Proya, which accounts for more than 83 percent of overall sales, was one of the fastest-growing domestic brands during Tmall’s Singles’ Day Festival in 2022, with its hero products, such as the 359 renminbi, or $50.80, Ruby Lightening Serum and the 389 renminbi, or $55.10, Double Effect Brightening Essence, reaching 100 million renminbi in GMV respectively.

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