Enjoying the sweet smell of success
The growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism among Han Chinese has presented a unique business opportunity for Dawa Phuntsok, who is the major shareholder in a factory that makes Tibetan incense in Nyingchi, a prefecture-level city in the Tibet autonomous region.
Revenue at the factory, which began operations in June, has already hit 70,000 yuan ($10,000) thanks to booming sales among locals and via online marketplaces.
“We are expecting more revenue from our online channels, and we have received lots of positive feedback from clients in Guangdong and Fujian provinces,” Dawa said.
In Tibetan medicine, incense is a recognized treatment for a number of illnesses and as a sterilizing agent it can also be used as an antibiotic. Its use is also integral to Tibetan Buddhist rituals.
Dawa, a former lumberjack, started from scratch 10 years ago when he set up a business that supplied gravel to construction companies. When business dried up, he began looking for his next venture, and he found inspiration at home.
“I discovered a recipe for Tibetan incense that had been left by my grandfather. I only saw him making incense when I was a child, but I decided to try the recipe myself,” the 40-year-old said.
His experiment was successful, and he decided to set up a business making incense sticks.
Nyingchi’s wealth of ecological
It’s impossible for the poverty-relief efforts to reach everybody, so people need to stand on their own two feet.” Dawa Phuntsok, major shareholder in an incense factory in Nyingchi
resources provides Dawa with a rich supply of medicinal herbs, which are important ingredients in Tibetan incense.
He set up the factory, located in a village near a national highway, as a joint venture with 10 fellow villagers and obtained a loan of about 1 million yuan through the regional government’s poverty-relief program. The factory employs four people from designated poverty-stricken households, who earn 1,000 yuan for seven days’ work every month.
Dawa hopes that as the business expands, the workers will gain skills that will eventually allow them to support themselves.
“It’s impossible for the poverty-relief efforts to reach everybody, so people need to stand on their own two feet. I just hope they can learn about the importance of being open-minded and taking the initiative to improve their lives,” he said.
Dawa Phuntsok checks incense at the factory in Nyingchi where he is the major shareholder.