Tong Ren Tang: Envoy of Traditional Chinese Medicine




SINCE setting up a retail pharmacy in Hong Kong in 1993, its first out of China’s mainland, Tong Ren Tang, the time-honored traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) brand, has established an extensive network of more than 130 stores in 26 countries and regions. These establishments, including drug stores, TCM clinics, wellness centers, medical centers, and cultural centers, have received more than 30 million person-time visits.


Successful talent localization in South Africa.


From its original “where there are Chinese there is a Tong Ren Tang” mission statement through to the current one of “where there are health demands there is a Tong Ren Tang,” the pharmaceutical company’s entry into the overseas market has been propelled by its policies of integrative product research and development, and culture of sustainable healthcare.


Global Market Layout


Tong Ren Tang’s expansion of its overseas markets has gathered pace since the opening in August 2012 of Tong Ren Tang retail outlet in Warsaw, Poland, the first in Europe.


Tong Ren Tang entered the U.S. market in 2016, and achieved instantaneous success. The company’s retail outlets were bestowed orders of commendation from the city governments respectively of New York and Los Angeles, and the San Francisco city government designated September 30 as Tong Ren Tang Day. The same year, the company arrived in the South African market. There it opened five retail stores in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. The company now has a presence on all five continents.


With a history of more than 300 years, Tong Ren Tang merits the accolade of top TCM brand. As the Belt and Road Initiative rolls out, Tong Ren Tang is doing its utmost to perfect its global market layout. The company has so far established branches and stores in such countries as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Poland, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and Canada.


Localization via Culture


Upon entering any one of Tong Ren Tang’s overseas stores, what first catches the eye is the tasteful decor of each establishment’s TCM cultural corner. Customers benefit from the therapeutic effects of TCM through the four diagnostic modes of observation of a patient’s symptoms, listening to their voice, asking relevant questions about nutrition and sleep, and feeling their pulses, and through its treatment methods that include acupuncture and massage. Overseas TCM aficionados can also attend talks on maintaining health through practicing taichi and qigong. Each store presents a museum of TCM culture for the benefit and edification of overseas consumers.


During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Czech Republic in March 2016, the Tong Ren Tang store invited a group of distinguished Chinese TCM experts to give lectures and have interactive activities with local people. The event was both well attended and warmly received by local residents. In October of the same year, Tong Ren Tang held a one-month stroke prevention and treatment campaign in Hong Kong, when 1,680 people jointly practiced baduanjin, a branch of qigong, creating a Guinness World Record. In November, Tong Ren Tang was titular sponsor of a Chinese Drama Festival in Melbourne, so sharing traditional Chinese culture through TCM and Peking Opera. Tong Ren Tang has also established museums in San Marino, Italy, and Los Angeles, in the U.S.


“If they were unaware of TCM’s cultural identity, foreigners could not acknowledge TCM,” said Ding Yongling, deputy general manager of Tong Ren Tang. “We will hence carry on pursuing the dual strands of economic entity and cultural carrier by launching themed activities along the Belt and Road which promote our brand influence.”


Tong Ren Tang will build local factories along the Belt and Road and open TCM retail terminals and health care centers in mature markets along the routes. Meanwhile, it will quicken its pace of overseas product registration, and enhance cooperation with institutions of higher learning and scientific establishments overseas, so expanding its presence in overseas markets.