SMALL CHI­NESE BRANDS GAIN BIG NAMES OVER­SEAS

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

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.

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