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P&G Revives Premium Skin-care Brand Oriental Therapy for China

The company wants to build China's own SK-II legend, powered by traditional herbal medicine and a rising middle class.

LONDON — Procter & Gamble is reviving Oriental Therapy, a premium Chinese herbal medicine-inspired skin-care brand, weeks before the 618 shopping festival, an online event set up by to rival Tmall’s Singles’ Day.

First launched in 2013, Oriental Therapy, or roughly translated into oriental seasonal methods from its Chinese brand name Dongfangjidao, is positioned between Olay and SK-II, and its products are based on skin’s different needs during the four seasons. It’s believed that Oriental Therapy will fill the gap P&G has in its beauty offering in China and help drive its growth. However, the brand disappeared from sale until now, with P&G giving no specific reasons why it was discontinued.

The brand uses extracts from natural ingredients such as ginseng, green tea, saffron and honeysuckle, which are documented in the ancient Chinese herbology book “The Compendium of Materia Medica,” and embody the idea of harmony between heaven and man.

Oriental Therapy is available online on platforms such as Tmall, Xiaohongshu and WeChat mini-program. Offline channels are yet to be rolled out. One of its key products, Springtime Hydrating Essence, for example, is priced at 450 renminbi, or $65. It has sold 555 units since its launch on Tmall. The brand’s skin-care sets are priced between 740 and 1,140 renminbi, or $107 to $165.

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China’s demand for beauty products that reflect its traditional culture and history is on the rise. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton launched Cha Ling, a skin-care brand inspired by “an ecological dream and made with rare pu’er tea from China” in 2016.  Local beauty conglomerate Shanghai Jahwa’s Herborist, founded in 1988, is China’s first skin-care brand based on traditional herbal medicine and is now a leading player in the market.