On the production line of a factory in the Turkish city of Istanbul, several robotic arms filled the material into the tiny cases with precise moves, before closing the lids, removing the faulty ones, and delivering them into an output basket.
"There we are! The product is ready to use," says Ugur Adiyaman, export director of Erkul Cosmetics and a board member of the Istanbul Chemicals and Chemical Products Exporters Association, or IKMIB, while showing a brand-new mascara box at the end of the line.
The company is one of the leading Turkish firms specializing in the production of color cosmetics, such as lip and eye makeup products, by using high-tech means.
The Turkish cosmetics and personal care products market has seen an annual average growth of 10 percent, thanks to the rich endemic tissue of the geography, intense research and development, and high-tech production facilities.
Exporting its products to more than 90 countries, especially those in the Balkans and the European Union, the Turkish cosmetics sector is now trying to increase its trade in China with products specially designed for Chinese consumers.
With the support of the Trade Ministry and the Turkish Exporters Association, a project was launched by IKMIB dedicated to tapping business opportunities in China a year ago. The Turkish teams are investigating which colors, packaging forms and products will please Chinese customers.
Color cosmetics, wet wipes, perfumes, aerosol products, traditional Turkish cologne, and hair-care products are expected to be the main categories that will be exported to China, Adiyaman says.
Turkey's endemic species diversity and climate conditions offer vast opportunities to obtain the highest quality raw material, he says.
"We have rare plants, and the essences obtained from these are unique and strengthen our competitive advantage," he says, mainly referring to Turkey's world-famous rose water products and olive oil soaps.
"Rose water is one of our most essential cosmetic products. With developing technology, we have been producing 43 different rose water-related commodities for the last three years," Adiyaman says, noting that such products are popular among Chinese people.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Turkish cosmetics sector also seek to increase cooperation with Chinese e-commerce platforms. Many Turkish companies will open flagship stores, branch offices, and rent warehouses in China with the help of the project, he says.
The total exports of the Turkish cosmetics sector in 2020 hit $1.4 billion with a 15 percent year-on-year increase despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the figures of the Turkish Exporters Association.