With China firmly is his grasp, what's next for Ryan Chao? The forward-thinking CEO shares his ambitious plans and reflects on the limitless opportunities of the growing beauty space.
Being in a room full of women on a daily basis doesn ’t faze Ryan Chao; in fact, he sees it as a learning opportunity. At Chlitina, where Chao is CEO, women make up 73percent of the workforce and an impressive 62 percent of the executive leadership roles.
“Being a male CEO in a female-majority company has taught me quite a bit, ” he says, “When I look around, I see that women often outshine their male counterparts. They naturally bring qualities like emotional intelligence, empathy, and fantastic collaboration skills to the table. These traits contribute significantly to their success in the workplace.”
Collaboration and inclusivity are the two cornerstones of Chao ’s leadership approach. “My role is all about leveraging my male perspective and blending it with the incredible strengths of the women I work with. It's like a superpower combo. It's a partnership that proves that diversity in the workplace isn't just a buzzword–it's a game-changer.”
If the name Chlitina doesn ’t ring a bell, it should and it soon will. The cosmetics company is arguably Asia ’s largest with over 5,000 franchised stores in the region, a private training institute for beauticians, and an R&D centre to boot.
如果你没听说过克丽缇娜，那很快你就会对它有深刻印象。克丽缇娜是亚洲美业的行业龙头。在亚洲拥有 5000 多家门店、一所美容师培训学校以及研发中心。
Next on Chlitina ’s ambitious expansion plans? Singapore. Having visited the island on numerous occasions – most recently attending the 21st Forbes Global CEO Conference – Chao is already plotting his next move. “ Singapore, oh what a place! It's the world's melting pot and a powerhouse in the global financial scene. We see it as the perfect launchpad for our international expansion and are in the middle of exciting plans to set up shop here.”
Since joining the fold in 2012, Chao has been on the mission to spearhead Chlitina’s transformatio into a digital-first company. “The digital makeover of the beauty industry is not a choice anymore; it's a necessity. At Chlitina, we've been leading the charge in the digitalisation of China's beauty industry by seamlessly blended digital tools with our physical stores to make shopping experience more engaging,” he says. “This combination of digital and brick-and-mortar has turned out to be a winning strategy. It's like having the best of both worlds, you know?”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Chao is now turning his focus on something new: health and wellness. As consumers become increasingly demanding, Chlitina is quickly evolving and keeping up with the times by offering holistic well-being enhancements ranging from nails to eyelashes, facials,medical aesthetics, and even plastic surgery.
赵承佑并没有满足于已取得的成就，如今的赵承佑已将目光投向新的领域: 健康和保养。随 着消费者的需求越来越高，克丽缇娜也在迅速发展、与时俱进：在美甲、睫毛、面部护理、医美甚至整形手术等方面，不断提供更加全面的服务。
Below, we catch up with the affable leader as he shares his vision for Chlitina and how he makes it work.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Ryan Chao (RC): It usually involves discussing important decisions with frontline supervisors, participating in group meetings, and simultaneously working on completing my doctoral studies.
What do you think are the qualities of a good leader?
RC: I believe that a good leader should maintain openness, listen to colleagues' voices, and stay attuned to market changes. In today's world, besides reacting quickly to the market, it is important to have a long-term perspective. Over the years, I've observed how some companies rise while others fall rapidly. To maintain competitiveness, businesses need a long-term vision and strategic planning to minimise mistakes and keep their sights set on the future.
You are a third-generation leader. How has Chlitina’s leadership has evolved over the years?
RC: My family has always led the entire company with an open and inclusive attitude. However, with the market and environment changing rapidly, our pace has accelerated, and decision-making has become more complex.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date–both professionally and personally?
RC: On the company level, I am driving the digitalisation progress within the group.
On the personal level, my family life is fulfilling and I am pursuing a PhD.Learning is a lifelong process; regardless of what position I am holding, it is essential to continually acquire knowledge to keep up with the world.
Tell us more about Chiltina’s brand mission to empower women.
RC: We are a pro woman brand–a brand that believes inempowering women and enabling them to build self-confidence and self-belief to change their own lives.For instance, Germes (our esteemed beauty training academy) is dedicated to cultivating future beauty entrepreneurs through our unique female empowerment business model. As we venture into the international arena, we want to empower our overseas franchise partners and support them in building successful beauty businesses.
What were the biggest challenges you faced as a CEO and how did you overcome them?
RC: Chlitina started as a salon-based business, focusing on exceptional products and quality service closely connected to consumers. Over the past 30years, with the advent of the AI era and changing consumer preferences towards speed and efficiency, Chlitina faced challenges. However, we never lost our way because we believed that regardless of how times change, consumers still need personal service, especially in beauty and wellness services such as beauty treatments and nail care. It's not just about the pursuit of appearance but also about the experience of being served and building trust with the beauticians. Chlitina adapts well to both retail and online sales, and both complement each other. In my view, while the new era poses challenges, it also presents better business opportunities.
赵承佑:克丽缇娜最初是一家以美容沙龙为基础的企业，专注于与消费者密切相关的卓越产品和优质服务。在过去的 30 年里 ，随着人工智能时代的到来，以及消费者对产品效率和功效偏好的不断变化，使克丽缇娜面临着各种挑战。但尽管如此，我们从未迷失方向，因为我们坚信，无论时代如何变化，消费者仍然需要个性化服务。尤其是在美容保养方面，比如面部护理和美甲护理。这不仅是对外表美观的追求，同时也是基于美容师的服务所建立的信任。克丽缇娜很好地适应了零售和网上销售模式，使两者相辅相成。在我看来，虽然新时代带来了挑战，但也带来了更好的商业机遇。
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
RC: When I see franchise stores change their own destiny and achieve success, I feel incredibly excited and proud. It is the reward for all their hard work, perseverance, and teamwork. It is notjust my personal success but also a victory for the entire team. Thisexperience inspires me to continue pursuing more growth for Chlitina, and this affirms our team determination and resilience in this journey together.
How do you unwind?
RC: I love watching movies, playing basketball, golfing, and collecting Marvel figurines. These hobbies allow me to relax and indulge in a diverse range of interests.
How do you achieve a work-life balance and set boundaries?
RC: Through family life. Generally when I return home, I try my best to set work aside and focus on my family. This helps me reduce stress while staying focused, allowing me to excel at work and participate more in family activities to foster closer relationships with those I love.
What is your vision for Chlitina?
RC: What Chlitina wants to do is to become a ‘ one-stop ’ and ‘ all ages ’ solution. Therefore, whether it's for one year or 10 years, our goal remains unchanged–to provide comprehensive health and beauty services for women. We will continue to strengthen the health sector and actively plan expansion into other Asian countries.
赵承佑:克丽缇娜想做的是提供 "一站式 "和 "全年龄段 "解决方案。因此，无论是一年还是十年，我们的目标都不会改变——那就是为女性提供全面的健康和美容服务。我们将继续加强健康领域布局，并积极计划向亚洲其他国家扩张。
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received?
RC: Always remain open, sense market changes, and be brave to try new things.
And finally, what is the best advice you can share to fellow leaders and innovators in the beauty industry?
RC: The future women's market will only become more important and expansive. So by focusing on observing women's needs from the inside out, there will be limitless market opportunities.
*How I’m Making It is a series in which Tatler speaks to influential individuals about their unique journeys and what keeps them going.
*《How I’m Making It》是一档系列节目，邀请有影响力的成功人士，分享他们独特的人生经历以及前行的动力。