It took a long time for some Western cosmetics companies to understand that the Chinese ideal of beauty is pale skin rather than the bronzed suntans favoured by Europeans. Pale skin, along with the long pinkie fingernail, showed you did not have to work in the fields, or even work at all. The focus on beauty and skincare during the Covid lockdown was an important part of the 8.2% growth in imported consumer goods in 2020.

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