Allergan: Doubling Down in China’s New Capital of Medical Aesthetics

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Global medical aesthetics market leader Allergan is investing heavily in the Chinese city of Chengdu and has launched a number of initiatives there, including a global consumer experience centre, an R&D-focused innovation centre, and a brand awareness drive for both consumers and potential future employees.

 

The Chinese medical aesthetics market is estimated to grow significantly to CNY 500 billion (USD 70 billion) by 2022

Internationally renowned as the home of the giant panda as well as for the eye-watering spiciness of its cuisine, Chengdu city, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, is now looking to develop an international reputation in another arena: as the Capital of Medical Aesthetics.

The Chinese medical aesthetics market is estimated to grow significantly to CNY 500 billion (USD 70 billion) by 2022. However, with ill-defined regulations, the prevalence of illegal procedures, fake and smuggled products, and a shortage of qualified professionals, the market holds as many challenges as it does opportunities.

In its push to foster its reputation in this emergent field, the Chengdu municipal government has enlisted Allergan, the global leader in medical aesthetics, as a strategic partner. Allergan’s mission is an ambitious one: to develop the entire medical aesthetics ecosystem through fruitful partnerships with associations, institutions, doctors and physicians, as well as patients and consumers.

On September 7th 2019, PharmaBoardroom attended the launch of Allergan’s first global consumer experience centre, the Allergan Beauty Lab, in the supersized mall, New Century Global Centre. The event also saw the launch of Allergan’s Innovation Centre, another world first, as well as the second-ever Allergan China Talent Institute Open Day.

 

Allergan Talent Institute Open Day

SVP Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APACMEA) Jason Smith offered a few words on the uniqueness of Allergan and what differentiates the company from other health, pharma and beauty players, highlighting Allergan’s unique focus on traditional pharma therapeutic areas like ophthalmology as well as medical aesthetics. He emphasized Allergan’s ‘Be Bold’ culture, pointing out to the audience that, “you are sitting in one of these examples of ‘bold’ today.” Rather than working in temporary spaces or relying solely on sending reps to hospitals and clinics, Allergan has decided to invest heavily in a permanent space with cutting-edge technology. The Allergan Medical Institute (AMI) was a USD 14.7 million investment and took less than a year from concept to execution.

Executive HR director Michelle Lu also focused on Allergan’s ‘Be Bold’ culture, linking it tightly to their promise to ‘do the right things.’ This, for her, is the core of Allergan’s commitment to doctors and consumers. Lu also outlined the ‘Allergan Edge’: Allergan’s commitment to ‘engage, develop, reward and attract’ top talents.

This is another example of Allergan’s longer-term thinking in the China market. The Talent Institute Open Day was not a specific recruitment drive but simply an information session for potential future employees or anyone interested in knowing more about Allergan – a key step towards the brand positioning of Allergan in China’s competitive talent market.

 

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Allergan Medical Institute (AMI) and the Allergan Innovation Centre

Globally, Allergan has established the Allergan Medical Institute (AMI) to improve the diagnostic and therapeutic skills of medical aesthetics professionals. In China, the need is particularly acute due to the serious shortage of qualified professionals and rising demand. In 2019, the Allergan Innovation Centre will offer more than 110 training courses in plastic surgery, as well as customized diagnosis and treatment technology. With a fully operational hospital license and top-of-the-line technology, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headset and advanced anatomy software, the Centre’s target is to train 3,000 doctors on location every year as well as an additional 2,800 through online e-learning courses.

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Allergan Beauty Lab

Embracing the convergence between consumer beauty and medical elements, Allergan has built its first global customer experience centre in Chengdu in the New Century Global Centre, which also happens to be the world’s largest mall and building in terms of floor area – a truly fitting location for a company with such grand ambitions.

With bold reds and blues popping out against a pristine white setting, the Lab invites even the most casual consumers to embark on a journey of discovery – of themselves. Individual stations offer different technologies for facial, skin and body analysis, and so on. Attendants man each station within the Lab to guide visitors through correct use and are quick to emphasize that these technologies should only be used as a reference and do not replace medical consultation with a professional. Consumers can join the so-called ‘Allergan Club’ on the WeChat app to access their results as well as a directory of reputable hospitals by location if they need more information from qualified medical sources. With no sales target, the Beauty Lab is fully dedicated to informing and educating consumers.

Despite the dreary weather, attendance was full and the atmosphere lively. Allergan’s holistic commitment to the medical aesthetics ecosystem in China is clear.

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Disclaimer

This article was written in partnership with Allergan China

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