Discover ANEW: Day 2 – A Visit to Avon R&D Center, Shanghai

One of the main event while on the Discover ANEW Avon Trip is to visit Avon R&D Center in Shanghai. So on the 2nd day in Shanghai, we were taken to the center on a tour bus. The visit was my first one to R&D lab or center and I was excited to see what it looks like.

Located in Jinqiao, Shanghai the 40,000 square Avon building houses scientists in the areas of product development, safety and quality testing, microbiology, chemical engineering and consumer research.

After putting on our lab jackets, Dr, Zhi Lu, the Senior Manager, Regional R&D, APAC Avon, told us a history behind little perfumes showcased in the guest area at the reception lobby.

Originally, Avon founder David H. McConnell did not intend to create a beauty company. He was actually a book salesman and he founded Avon in 1886 after realizing his female customers were far more interested in the free perfume samples he offered than in his books. The first perfumes he created was (see above picture) the Little Dot perfume Set, five single-note fragrances – Lily of the Valley, Violet, Heliotrope, White Rose and Hyacinth.

This Avon building achieved LEED Platinum 2011 certification; a Gold standard for commercial interiors under the U.S. Green Building Council‘s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The green features include:

  • High-efficiency water fixtures, which will reduce water consumption by 44%
  • Energy-efficient lighting systems
  • Waste recycling
  • An interior fit-out containing 31% recycled material
  • 87% of office equipment and appliances are Energy Star rated to reduce energy usage.

As for the lighting, Avon uses motion sensors in private offices and meeting rooms shut off lights. To maximize the use of natural daylight, work-station dividers are low, permitting light to penetrate deep into the floor plate. However, exception is given to the Color Lab as lighting is very crucial in developing colors correctly.


We were taken on a tour to all labs in the 6-storey building. According to Dr Zi Lu, researchers at the Shanghai R&D center work closely with Avon’s regional brand marketing center to allow for the development of more specialized products for the Asian markets including the Malaysia market. It is focussing on developing beauty products including skincare, personal care, color and haircare.

One of the lab on the 1st floor. Final tests are done in here before they send products for manufacturing.

Color labs on the 3rd Floor is one of my favourite labs.

Colors are coded by numbers.

Here is one researcher working in the Color Lab. He tested the colors on himself. 

I met Reese Witherspoon in the Color Lab but she was looking at the mascara all the time.

Haircare Lab.

Perfume Lab.

Skincare Lab.

A place where they monitor facial progress during the usage of skincare products.

Overall, the visit was very satisfying. The explanation by researchers has made it more easy for me to understand the whole process from A to Z and how the products are being tested and being ensured that they are safe for consumers. It is also great to learn that apart from taking care the need for women, Avon is helping to save the environment by incorporating green features on their building.

Thank you Avon for giving me this opportunity to visit Avon R&D Center, Shanghai.

Here is a photo of the Malaysian group:

Seated from left: yours truly, Mei Sin from China Press, Siti Fatimah Hassan from harian Metro, Soo Wincci, Miss World Malaysia. Standing from left: Aspalin Haji Sirat, Head of Commercial Marketing, Avon Malaysia, Dr. Xiaochun Luo, Avon’s Global Vice President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer and Elaine Aisyah Abdullah, PR Manager, Avon Malaysia.



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Applying Visa to visit China

I am leaving for Shanghai on February 28th until March 1st to attend a product launching by Avon Malaysia. The invitation was extended to me early January and I accepted the offer. I will be going with Avon PR Manager and few other journalists. I have never been to China and this is a chance for me to at least step foot on China soil although I am afraid that I won’t be doing much of the touristy thing as I have to cover the product launching and blog from Shanghai. I have been told that a range of exciting programs have been scheduled for us members of the media, so I am pretty much excited about it. I am going to submit the form on Monday at Avon’s office in PJ.

So do we need a visa to enter China? I read on the website that we do not need to apply for visa if we fall under these categories (quoted from

You need to apply for a visa unless you belong to the following categories:

(1) According to bilateral agreements, citizens of some countries (List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between the P.R. China and Foreign Countries) holding appropriate passports may enter China without a visa provided that their stay in China shall not exceed 30 days from the date of entry into China. While in China, they should apply to the department concerned for the extension of the duration of stay in advance if they want to stay longer.

(2) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan holding ordinary passports may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreigners provided that they come to China for tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days. However, the following personnel of these three countries must apply for a visa in advance if:
a) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for tourism, family visit or business, and intend to stay in China for more than 15 days;
b) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for study, employment, permanent residence or on a news reporting mission; and
c) They are holders of diplomatic and service(official) passports;

(3) Foreigners holding ordinary passports of the countries having diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong or Macao, and participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of less than six days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao shall not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area refers to the administrative area of the 10 cities below: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou.

(4) Foreigners who have confirmed onward tickets and seats on international flights and directly transit through China and stay for no more than 24 hours within the airport boundaries shall not need to apply for a transit visa.

(5) No visa is required for citizens of the following 20 countries, who transit through China via Shanghai within 48 hours, no matter what type of passports they may hold: Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Schengen states — Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.

(6) Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following 19 countries and in group tours to Hainan Province for a stay of less than 15 days organized by the international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province shall not need to apply for a visa: Malaysia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, the UK, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

(7) Part of the personnel of foreign airlines offices resident in China and crew members on international flight and trains are exempted from visa requirements or entitled to simplified visa application procedures in accordance with the agreements between the Chinese Government and the governments of their respective countries.

Except for the foreign citizens mentioned-above, all other foreigners shall have to apply for a visa in advance.


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