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With the rising trend of plastic surgery procedures being doled out as graduation gifts, more and more Koreans are going under the knife to achieve that coveted aesthetic perfection, making Korea unequivocally the plastic surgery capital of the world.
But the plastic surgery trend in K-pop land has seemingly extended its influence to neighbouring country, China. With China’s cosmetic surgery industry estimated to be valued at 400 billion yuan (S$88.8 billion) by the end of the 2015 and expected to double (800 billion yuan) by 2019, China is undoubtedly picking up pace at quite a speedy rate.
With a steady growth, it is expected that China will be the world’s third largest market after the United States and Brazil by 2019, according to the latest industry trend report.
The report, issued by the China Association of Plastics and Aesthetics on Monday found that more than seven million Chinese people, mostly women, went under the knife in the name of beauty last year with approximately 60,000 of them opting for South Korea as their preferred plastic surgery destination.
Interestingly, 10% more foreigners have come to China for plastic surgery year-on-year for the past five years, although a great number of Chinese travelled abroad, mostly to South Korea, the report found.
“Cosmetic procedures have grown incredibly in China as an increasing number of women go under the knife to get ahead,” said Chen Yuzhe, a CAPA member, at the launch.
“With deeper pockets and enhanced awareness, there will be more room for the industry to grow here.”
Although breast enlargement is the most popular procedure worldwide, however, breast augmentation isn’t quite as well received in China. US records 300,000 breast enhancements each year while in China, a mere 50,000 to 100,000 are performed, according to Du Xiaoyan, vice-secretary general of the association.
“Chinese women are more reluctant than Westerners to go for breast enhancements,” Du said.
Chen pointed out that the China figure could be an underestimate as “some go to unqualified clinics so they are not on our radar”.
China now has more than 10,000 plastic surgery clinics and the number is increasing by 30 per cent each year, said the report.
However, due to a lack of regulations or strict management controls, unqualified practitioners also operate, leading to medical disputes and dangers to customers’ health and safety, Du said.
She cautioned “beauty chasers”, to opt for South Korea as their plastic surgery destination since fewer than 3,000 of the more than 10,000 physicians performing plastic surgery in South Korea are authorised.
To help improve safety and quality control, CAPA plans to launch a data platform to collect and assess data from different institutions and track surgeries performed within the country, Du said.
With more attention paid in the safety and quality control department, China might very well take over the current plastic surgery capital in the near future.