Beijing Tong Ren Tang: Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Global Journey
As a time-honoured Chinese enterprise, Beijing Tong Ren Tang aims to provide traditional Chinese medicine for people all over the world with health needs.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang is one of the time-honoured Chinese enterprises that have provided support for and traded with countries along the “Belt and Road.” As an icon in traditional Chinese medicine for over 20 years, it has been serving people from different countries with effective, safe and reliable products and services since going global in the early 1990s. In recent years, to support the Belt and Road Initiative, Tong Ren Tang has left its prints overseas, adjusting to different demands and tailoring its treatment services to contribute to people's health.
Amazing the World with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine, with its unique diagnosis and treatment methods, is not only a treasure of the Chinese people, but has also been internationally recognised as beneficial to health. Founded in 1669, Beijing Tong Ren Tang has a history of 348 years. It has played a significant role in promoting TCM outside China and meeting growing health-related needs of people from different countries.
In 1993, following the strategy of “Going Global,” Beijing Tong Ren Tang opened a pharmacy in Hong Kong, marking the start of its outbound journey. After ten years of development, in 2004, it set up Beijing Tong Ren Tang Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited in Hong Kong, which served as an overseas platform for Beijing Tong Ren Tang to provide TCM services to the world. Meanwhile, Tong Ren Tang came up with a motto: “Wherever there is Chinese, there is Tong Ren Tang.”
At its earliest stage going global, Beijing Tong Ren Tang had its overseas branches concentrated in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, where there are many Chinese people. Whenever they stumbled upon a Tong Ren Tang plaque, they would be hit with nostalgia. According to many elderly overseas Chinese, they found Tongrentang medicine effective having taken Tongrentang medicine during their childhood. They were amazed that Tong Ren Tang made its way abroad. Beijing Tong Ren Tang became an emotional bond that connected overseas Chinese with their mother country. It also began to reach out to the local people who had known little about TCM.
Catering to Local Needs
On 7 May, 2013, Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Corporation Limited was publicly listed in Hong Kong, building a more high-end platform for Tong Ren Tang's outbound journey. In response to China's “Belt and Road” Initiative, it has broadened its horizons in recent years and became committed to a new motto—“wherever there is need for health, there is Tong Ren Tang.” Tong Ren Tang has opened more pharmacies in Europe, America and Africa, making greater efforts to serve local people.
In March 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the Czech Republic and announced the two capitals— Beijing and Prague—to become sister cities, with TCM as a common bond. Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, Beijing Municipal Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group jointly hosted activities in Prague including a 3-day free TCM outpatient service and TCM academic forums, which proved popular with the
locals and attracted over 1,400 people. From September 26 to October 2, Beijing Tong Ren Tang launched several business openings of TCM clinics, retail pharmacies, medical centres and cultural centres in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the United States and in Vancouver, Canada. Local governments of New York and Los Angeles awarded a commendation order to Tong Ren Tang and the San Francisco City Government and set September 30 as “Tong Ren Tang Day.” On November 16, Beijing Tong Ren Tang opened five pharmacies in South Africa's Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, deepening cooperation in medical care and public health between China and Africa as proposed in the Declaration of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-africa Cooperation and Forum on China-africa Cooperation—johannesburg Action Plan.
Ding Yongling introduced that in Europe, America and Africa, TCM pharmacies were mainly founded by Chinese, paving a path for further development of TCM. Through mergers and acquisitions, Beijing Tong Ren Tang was able to build a uniform brand to provide authentic TCM services for locals. Some pharmacy owners said they fully trusted their successors in managing and spreading TCM culture.
In Australia, Chinese patent medicine can be registered as a supplementary drug, so Beijing Tong Ren Tang introduced 60 kinds of Chinese patent medicines into the market. In Europe and America, TCM entry qualifications are strictly required, and Beijing Tong Ren Tang brought in over 20 kinds of TCM categorised as food supplements.
As of now, Beijing Tong Ren Tang's production line has passed the GMP (good manufacturing practice) certification of Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, the Muslim Halal certification and Israel Kosher certification. In August 2016, after four years of relentless effort, it finally passed the EU GMP certification and joined the handful of Chinese enterprises that had obtained the authoritative EU recognition. Its Hong Kong production base, also its first overseas production base, has passed the highest-standard ISO22000 certification and HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) certification. Beijing Tong Ren Tang is prepared to stand firmly in Hong Kong, tap into more global markets and provide more healthy products. Meanwhile, Tong Ren Tang's trademark has been registered legally in over 70 countries and territories abroad.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang has been active in holding promotional activities around the world to popularise TCM knowledge and advocate a healthy lifestyle. On this basis, according to Ding Yongling, Beijing Tong Ren Tang began its transition to a healthcare provider from its traditional role as a medical care provider. In 2014, it set up a wellness centre in Hong Kong, kicking off a new mode for development. After that, it founded a number of wellness centres in EU countries like Poland and the Netherlands, bringing TCM healthcare to locals and earning wider recognition.
It is known that each of Tong Ren Tang's overseas branches will have TCM culture displayed or featured programmes broadcast repeatedly. Local media even serialised literary
works related to Tong Ren Tang's history. At Tong Ren Tang, patients do not only feel the magic of TCM through the traditional four diagnosis methods and acupuncture, but also learn traditional TCM healthcare exercises like shadowboxing and eight trigrams boxing. There are also health lectures and free outpatient services provided.
Excellent products, exquisite technique and noble ethics are the three pillars that have supported Beijing Tong Ren Tang gain trust and enhance its influence outside China for the past 20-odd years. So far it has opened over 130 overseas branches in 26 countries and territories including retail terminals, TCM clinics, wellness centres, medical centres and cultural centres, receiving over 30 million patients with supporters in the billions.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang wants to do more to benefit more people through TCM. To revitalise the old brand and cater to modern health demands, it came up with internationally competitive modern healthcare products based on its superior resources. In TCM research, it cooperated with foreign universities and scientific research institutions such as Stanford University, New York University and the College of Pharmacy of California Western University of Health Sciences to delve into the safety of key TCM varieties. In fostering foreign talents, Beijing Tong Ren Tang launched TCM training in medical schools of local universities, drawing interest from numerous well-known Western doctors in lectures. Ding Yongling thought this would provide more possibilities for future integration of TCM and Western medicine to combat diseases.
In December 2016, Beijing Tong Ren Tang's cross-border e-commerce TCM “going global” platform launched online, heralding a new “Internet+” mode for Beijing Tong Ren Tang to gather Chinese medicine manufacturers to deliver products directly to global customers. Without intermediate procedures, quality can be ensured at a reduced cost. Tong Ren Tang's offline stores distributed all over the world and its warehouse system will together contribute to a higher delivery efficiency of its “going global” platform.
Speaking of its future overseas development, Ding Yongling said that Tong Ren Tang plans to build an international and professional TCM group that integrates planting, purchasing, research and development, production, sales, service, culture and education. The next steps are to follow the country's Belt and Road Initiative, focus on TCM and explore its fullest potential and deepen cooperation in resources with countries along the Belt and Road. Furthermore, to carry out the strategy of TCM going global, activities themed on "Tong Ren Tang Overseas Cultural Tour along the Belt and Road” will be launched. Beijing Tong Ren Tang counts on publicity by local media, inviting experts to give TCM lectures from overseas universities, holding large-scale free outpatient and consulting services and building TCM museums to spread TCM to more people around the world.
A Beijing Tong Ren Tang store in Kuala Lumpur
Beijing Tong Ren Tang holds an exercise activity in Hong Kong.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Auckland) Company Limited in New Zealand opens.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang opens a store in South Africa.
A Beijing Tong Ren Tang store in Dubai, The United Arab Emirates