Guangdong pharmaceutical brand injects modern elements into traditional Chinese medicine

Updated 2017-11-28 10:06:06

Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (GPHL), the biggest pharmaceutical enterprise in China with a 417 year long history, is about to attend the upcoming “21st Century Maritime Silk Road Forum” in Zhuhai.

During the forum, GPHL will highlight how the time-honored brand is revitalizing itself. “Our products have stood the test of time. But to feed demands of overseas markets, especially the younger generation, we have to inject modern elements”, said Li Hong, General Manager of Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Company Limited.

Guangdong pharmaceutical brand injects modern elements into traditional Chinese medicine

Comparing to the original Wanglaoji, the new dark sugar flavor packaging is slimmer and with contemporary stylings. The new package won the reddot award in 2017. [Photo provided to]

GPHL had adopted a variety of modernisation measures. The most obvious moves can be seen in its Wanglaoji line, the herbal tea being sold to over 20 countries around the world. “Compared to other traditional medicine, herbal tea can enter overseas markets more easily and with less regulation, making it one of the key areas for change," said Li.

“We released more flavors targeting young people's different preferences, such as the sugar-free and dark sugar flavors,” said Li, “and we adjust formulas based on customers' preferences in different countries. Products selling to South East Asia are sweeter than other regions because most people there prefer a sweeter flavour.”

Guangdong pharmaceutical brand injects modern elements into traditional Chinese medicine

Li Chuyuan, Party Secretary and Chairman of GPHL during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum talking about how enterprises can develop through innovation under the context of globalization. [Photo provided to]

Furthermore, GPHL has also teamed up with the local high-tech enterprises, such as Midea and iFLYTEK, adopting artificial intelligence for use in healthcare services. For example, GPHL signed an agreement with Midea earlier in September to jointly develop industrial robots, smart chemical warehouses and a healthcare big data system.

Although GPHL's traditional medicine has made its name in the domestic market, Li Hong said they met with various challenges when entering the overseas markets, and the fundamental problem remains that overseas customers still lack an understanding of traditional Chinese medicine culture.

“We will build herbal tea museums worldwide to provide a source of knowledge about traditional Chinese medicine and promote our products,” said Li, “moreover, attending international events like the Marine Silk Road Forum and the following Fortune Global Forum provides great chances to let people outside China try our products and dive deeper into our brands.”

Guangdong pharmaceutical brand injects modern elements into traditional Chinese medicine

Each of GHPL's gift sets had 10 of its flagship TCM products. They can be used for everyday complaints including carsickness and sore muscles. []

Holding a colorful metal box painted a Chinese character “粤” ('Yue'- another way of referring to Guangdong), Qiu Jianhua, Director of Cooperation Culture and Deputy Director of the General Office of GPHL, said the enterprise had prepared a special gift box for the upcoming Marine Silk Road Forum.

“The gift set contains our most popular products as well as detailed English instructions,” said Qiu Jianhua, “and will be provided at other conferences in the future so that guests at home and abroad can try our products and experience this key part of Cantonese culture.”

Author: Jasmine Yin

Editor: Simon Haywood; Olivia Ouyang

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