China's hair health sector requires greater investment in research and development to develop rapidly and meet rising consumer demand, industry experts have said.
The average yearly expenditure on hair-related products and services is about 3,000 yuan ($418), of which 1,711 yuan is used for hair care and treatment at professional institutions, an industry report released earlier in the year by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed. The total market size of China's hair health sector is expected to hit 100 billion yuan by 2030, according to the report.
The current domestic market size of the hair transplant industry alone is more than 20 billion yuan, growing at a compound annual rate of 25 percent, a fourfold increase from five years ago, said a report from market consultancy ChinaIRN.
"Nowadays, it's not difficult to observe a trend that more and more young people are struggling with hair health problems, which leads to huge market potential," said Zhang Yu, founder of Yonghe Medical Group, a Beijing-based hair-related healthcare services provider.
However, a relevant diagnosis and treatment system has not been fully established to provide consumers with efficient and personalized solutions, Zhang said.
"It usually doesn't take more than five minutes for the consultation process of my hair-loss issue at a public hospital's dermatology department, because general hospitals have to give their limited medical sources to much more complicated cases," said Tan Li, who has been suffering from hair loss for the past five years. "But I still hope to benefit from public hospitals' professional diagnosis and treatment as well as better experience as both a patient and consumer," she said.
Due to the nature of the hair health sector that emphasizes both diagnosis and treatment, 85 percent of the market share is concentrated in private institutions, with public hospitals only making up the rest, data from the CASS report showed.
The development imbalance between public hospitals and private hair health clinics has long existed. While public hospitals usually possess more advanced technologies, private clinics have a larger patient base, said Zhou Cheng, head of the Department of Dermatology at People's Hospital of Peking University.
Targeting the gap, Yonghe has joined hands with the hospital to establish a hair science laboratory and carry out innovative research on hair studies.
By utilizing the massive data gathered during the company's treatment processes, the cooperative endeavor hopes to help doctors understand the mechanisms underlying hair disorders and facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of hair-related problems, said Zhang Jianzhong, a professor at the Department of Dermatology of People's Hospital of Peking University.
"Based on data gathered through cooperating with specialized clinics, our doctors and scientists can carry out more innovative research, offering valuable assistance to future diagnosis and treatment of hair issues and helping push forward the standardization of the industry," he added.