C-beauty brands harness guochao and global recognition at the 2023 Asian Games

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What Happened: From September 23 to October 8, China hosted the 19th Asian Games, the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. The event, also known as Asiad, saw dozens of countries across the Asia Pacific and Middle East compete in Hangzhou this year.

Hangzhou is not only home to the headquarters of tech giant Alibaba but also well-known domestic beauty labels, such as Florasis and Mao Geping. As Hangzhou-based brands, Florasis and Mao Geping were named the official cosmetics suppliers of the 2023 Asian Games. 

Over the two-week period, both companies launched Asian Games co-branded products, provided makeup services for the competing athletes, and refurbished the Hangzhou stores and counters with Asian Games elements.

Florasis displayed nearly 30 Asian Games-related collections, including torches, mascots, and various commemorative gifts from the previous Asian Games. Image: Florasis Weibo

The Jing Take: Since the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, brands have started betting big on sports events. As these large-scale competitions enjoy a wide reach and attract audiences of all ages, they’re a prime platform to showcase different products and styles to the world.

One way to maximize brand exposure during these events is by partnering with sports stars, leveraging national pride, known as guochao in China, as well as their individual fan base.

On September 24, Proya officially named Zheng Ninali, who represented China in the Asiad women’s heptathlon competition, as its newest brand ambassador. Meanwhile, up-and-coming Chinese foundation brand Funny Elves claimed world swimming champion Ye Shiwen as its ambassador. Shi won her first Asiad gold medal in nine years in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, amplifying online traffic around the endorsement.

Ahead of the 2023 Asian Games, Funny Elves appointed world swimming champion Ye Shiwen as a brand ambassador. Photo: Funny Elves

Additionally, Florasis displayed nearly 30 Asian Games-related collections, including torches, mascots, and various commemorative gifts from the previous Asian Games. Mao Geping took a different marketing approach, designing the competition makeup for China’s artistic swimming team (in the artistic swimming free routine, artistic impression, including makeup, counts for 40 percent of the total score)  and opening beauty stations to provide makeup services in the Asian Games Village.

When considering ambassadors, brands must look at both their commercial value and public perception. As local consumers’ take a greater interest in health and sports, athletes offer brands not only a fervent following but a narrative of hard work and dedication that make them a relatively safer option in an era of celebrity scandals.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


Beauty, Consumer Insights, Events, Market Analysis