SMALL CHINESE BRANDS GAIN BIG NAMES OVERSEAS
Atime-honored ointment produced in China that relieves an embarrassing condition is gaining popularity in theUnited States. Mayinglong Musk Hemorrhoids Ointment Cream has earned the praised of reviewers, who are calling it magic from the East, with a 4.3 out of 5 rating from more than 1,000 comments on Amazon.com.
Such success is overshadowing chili sauce Lao Gan Ma, which has been in favor in the US and many other countries for at least a decade. Lao Gan Ma won the same rating on Amazon.com, but had only 77 customer reviews.
Over the past decades, Chinese products, from food to daily commodities, have been bought overseas through either well-planned promotions or gradually by the growing number of Chinese people going abroad.
“Generally speaking, what foreigners prefer among Chinese items are those with strong Chinese characters and flavors, such as qipao (cheongsam) and red paper cutouts for window decorations. Ultimately, it all comes down to quality. Good wine will always sell itself, and it has become particularly true in today’s internet shopping age,” said Shun Zi, a native of Shandong province who moved to Los Angeles with her family a decade ago.
Some of the US customers, whohad suffered from hemorrhoids for as long as seven years and could only resort to surgery, according to doctors, felt much better after using the product for only a couple of hours.
“The person who created this stuff should receive a Nobel Prize, front row seats at the Olympics, an entire stable of miniature giraffes, and free Ivy League education for their children,” wrote one user who claimed that she could not even sit or stand the day before using the cream but could function the following day.
“This magic cream will make you whole again. You will not shift endlessly in your work chair while attempting to crush the evil troll living in your rectum. You will not wince at the thought of having to go potty. Now, I waltz right in themen’s room and proudly purge burrito with cheese of last night, and I don’t flinch,” reads another comment.
Others even complimented China.
“Sorry team America, China wins on this remedy,” reads one comment.
“Once again China has bailed us out,” reads another comment, where the user also wrote that he would never be without a tube of this in his medicine cabinet.
Mayinglong Pharmaceutical Group, based in Wuhan, Hubei province, declined to take media interviews about the sudden fame. A manager from the group’s marketing department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told China Daily that “it was utterly a spontaneous eruption of word of mouth and the company never interfered”.
Natalie Simon recently became a firm fan of Xiaomi, a Chinese technology pioneer, buying a Xiaomi smartphone fourmonthsagoandlater a fitness-tracking wristband.
“I searched the internet for a smartphone with outperforming camera function and Xiaomi came into my spotlight. Users gave impressive reviews, not only in its camera but the overall performance,” said Simon, a PhD student in Paris.
She didn’t hesitate to place an order on the company’s website. The mobile phone didn’t let her down.
“One can purchase seven Xiaomi smartphones with the price you pay for an iPhone, but their differences seem trivial in most cases,” Simon said.
Not long after that she bought a wristband.
“Once again, it’s cheap and useful. So I recommended it to my brother and many peers and friends,” she said.
In Australia, where there are abundant local options for health products and medicines, and people generally have strong trust for local brands, Kate Brooks said she recently tried a Chinese ointment to relieve burns and found it very effective.
“Two Thai friends first introduced the product made withChinese traditional medicines and herbals to me. They said it was super useful for them to treat burns and cuts,” said Brooks, Melbourne.
“It must be very popular withAsians here and I will recommend it toWesterners here for sure.”
Unlike these newcomers, Dragon and Tiger brand balm from China has been popular overseas for decades. A search a resident of of the balm, which is made with a traditional herbal formula to relieve pain, itching, sore muscles and fatigue, showed 33 results on Amazon.
Zhang Nan, who runs a small shop near Yu Garden, a must-see spot for first-time visitors to Shanghai, said the balm is popular among foreign tourists.
“People from many parts of the world, including the Middle East, France and Canada, to name just a few, buy the product from me. Their enthusiasm for the balm is as high as Chinese people purchasing luxury bags overseas,” Zhang said.
Information on the company website showed that the balm, also known as qingliangyou, has been exported to more than 80 countries.
Will Covey from North Carolina had never thought someone could be addicted to a sauce until he met his Chinese wife from Shanghai.
Covey often saw her put spoonfuls of red spice from a jar with an old lady on it into everything — stir fry, rice and even pasta — when they met five years ago.
“I smelled the stuff, but the spicy aroma didn’t appeal to me at first,” Covey said.
Now, he eats it almost every day— on top of eggs for breakfast, mixes it with garlic and eats it with dumplings, and sometimes just puts a spoonful of the sauce directly into his mouth.
More than 1,100 people from all over the world established a Lao GanMa Appreciation Society on Facebook. It seems from their posts that they can’t live without the chili sauce.
“When you marry a Chinese woman, it means you actually tie the knot with two women, your wife and the boss of Lao GanMa, who is the old lady on the jars,” reads one comment on Facebook.
Shi Hao, who was born and raised in Shanghai and has lived in Sydney for nearly two decades, said that until around five years ago, the chili sauce was only found in Chinatown, but now it’s everywhere.
“It sells at around A$3 in Coles and Woolworth, the major local supermarkets here,” said 34-year-old Shi.
Another thing that inevitable gets mentioned when talking about popular Chinese items in Sydney is Din Tai Fung, a chain restaurant selling xiaolongbao (steamed pork dumplings), a favorite Shanghai treat that has become popular inmany parts across China.
“People always seem crazy to head to Din Tai Fung. There are three outlets in Sydney and every time I go there for lunch, there are long lines and people have to await at least 20 minutes before getting a table to sit down,” Shi said.
Qian Ying, a Shanghai native who moved to Seattle five years ago, also reported people’s affection for the chain restaurants selling the little dumplings known for thin skin and meat filling with juice inside.
“There is one outlet in downtown Seattle and one in Bellevue, which is 10 minutes’ drive from Seattle. There will be a new restaurant opening later this year,” said Qian, 28.
She said long lines are unavoidable for lunch and supper, even on workdays, and suggested people arrive before 4 pmfor supper unless they want to stay in line for an hour.
“Most people are notAsians. Xiaolongbao, potstickers and beef noodles are the best sellers,” she said.