Traditional Chinese medicine leader Tong Ren Tang is aiming to double the number of its retail outlets overseas to 100 by the end of this year from about 50 last year, a senior executive of the firm said.
Ding Yongling, deputy general manager of the Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group and general manager of the group's Hong Kong-based operation, said that the company's expansion plans include tapping the market outside of the Chinese mainland for the next three years.
Ding said the company, with a history of 343 years, will open not just new outlets for their products abroad but also museums that will showcase the best of traditional Chinese medicine. The company will also conduct lectures and seminars on Chinese traditional drugs.
The company hopes to diversify its investments and tap the capital market to boost its overseas operations, she said.
Tong Ren Tang now has 66 retail outlets in 16 countries around the world. Its first market outside the Chinese mainland was first opened in 1993 in Hong Kong.
On March 17 this year, the company opened its fifth joint venture store in Singapore, followed by its eighth wholly-owned outlet in Hong Kong. It opened its first store in the Middle East in Dubai late last year. Its stores in Australia are also doing good business, Ding said.
"We are aiming to put up 100 stores by the end of 2015. This would include tapping the markets in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Japan," Ding said.
Tong Ren Tang, which has become synonymous with the best of traditional Chinese medicine in many parts of China, started in 1669 as a small clinic. It was later designated as the supplier of herbal medicines to the royal family of the Qing dynasty for over a century before the empire's collapse.
Most of its retail outlets outside China have experienced traditional Chinese medicine physicians who offer diagnostic services, including acupuncture and massage.
The company's goal is to increase its export earnings to some 56 million U.S. dollars in 2015. In 2011, its exports totaled 33.9 million U.S. dollars, up 21 percent year on year.
Ding said her company is also aiming to introduce about 20 Tong Ren Tang museums in the next three years to the overseas markets where people know little or even have a misconception about traditional Chinese medicine.
Tong Ren Tang currently has a museum in Beijing showcasing traditional Chinese medicines and practices.
Ding said that for many people in other cultures, traditional Chinese medicine is considered mysterious which often causes misunderstanding or even fear. But in areas where people have tried them and were cured, Chinese traditional medicines are now in demand.
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