It is springtime for traditional Chinese medicine industry as Chinese people are turning fervently to their ancestor’s heritage.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in China last year, the effective ratio of integrated Chinese and Western medicine was over 90%, according to the National Health Commission of China.
Consequently, the public image of TCM has become better and better after the outbreak, as a study conducted by Tsinghua University reveals.
“I think, in general, the use of TCM in combating COVID-19 and its success can increase Chinese people’s confidence in TCM to a certain degree,” said Dr. Cheng Xiaoxiao, one of the researchers who conducted the study.
This is true with what is happening in Guizhou. Yaowang Valley, in Anshun, Guizhou, is a hub for herb. According to Ren Tingzhou, the founder of the company, TCM business had always been profitable, but 2020 was a special year. Thirty three extra acres of Huang Jing, a herbal beneficial to kidney in TCM theory, was planted, making a total of 82 acres of Huang Jing field.
Yaowang Valley, photo by Zhu Zeyu
The plants turned into a revenue of 40 million yuan last year, though Ren has only invested about 100 million yuan in total since 2008 when the business started.
In addition to running his own medicine valley, Ren is also training businesses nearby to grow herbs.
“As the market is expanding, I don’t fear for competition. Instead, this will only make the cake even larger,” said Ren.
Also located in Anshun, the TCM giant Bailing Group is working on its Phase III project of factory expansion, which started in March last year, when China began to recover from the pandemic. The new factory is expected to open in November, improving the company’s ability to extract the effective ingredients from raw materials.
Production at Bailing, photo by Zhu Zeyu
Traditionally, TCM was usually boiled in water. The soup could not be stored for a long time and thus could hardly be transported, making it impossible to produce TCM in large scale. Today, TCM is made into pills and ointments, or Chinese patent medicine in a more formal way, which enables a modern TCM industry.
The company enjoyed a revenue of 3.1 billion yuan in 2020, with a loan discount of about 400 million yuan.
“After the outbreak last year, President Xi Jinping has a high expectation in Chinese patent medicine and the government’s policy is favorable,” said Song Huayuan, the manager of administrative department of Bailing.