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For the Common Good: Using TCM to Promote Health and Spread Chinese Culture to the World

Updated: November 23, 2022


The mayor of San Francisco, the United States, awards a citation to Beijing Tong Ren Tang, a traditional Chinese pharmacy, and sets Sept 30 as the "Day of Tong Ren Tang". [Photo provided to sasac.gov.cn]

Since launch of the Tong Ren Tang outlet in Hong Kong, the traditional Chinese pharmacy's first store outside the Chinese mainland, Beijing Tong Ren Tang has promoted the Chinese method of keeping healthy and China's traditional culture to 28 countries and regions for more than 20 years. The company has established 150 stores, selling products in more than 40 countries and regions, and has registered brands in over 100 countries and regions. It has also won a special award for international brand registration in Madrid, Spain, and ranked tops in earning foreign exchange through export among fellow companies of its field in China. Beijing Tong Ren Tang has evolved into a world-renowned brand from a famous Chinese one.

Impacting the world through culture

In recent years, Chinese traditional medicine has been highly valued around the world. From the internationally-confirmed acupuncture treatment to Tu Youyou being awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, an antimalaria treatment, the culture of TCM is showing more and more global impact.

(1) Culture makes brands shine from Asia to Europe and America

Based in Hong Kong and influencing the world is the development route of Beijing Tong Ren Tang's overseas business. From 2013, the company has been gaining a stronger and stronger cultural competitiveness in Asia and has gained achievements in cultural promotion while improving its brand impact.


People from various countries and regions are ready to clean the plaque to show cultural inheritance at Beijing Tong Ren Tang's first overseas plaque cleaning event in March 2019. [Photo provided to sasac.gov.cn]

As early as 2014, Beijing Tong Ren Tang became popular in South Korea and later  won a brand reward of the year in the UK. In 2017, Beijing Tong Ren Tang was the first and only project with an overseas presence at the second state-owned enterprise (SOE) open house event, which promoted the TCM brand to more countries and regions.

(2) From experience to science, culture aids product recognition

Recognition of a brand and the culture behind it is the base to promote Chinese enterprises to the world. Since 2012, Beijing Tong Ren Tang has been devoted to promoting TCM with scientific indices to help more foreign people learn about and take TCM without any worries.

The company has inked a memorandum of understanding with Western Sydney University to develop basic security of TCM. To date, Beijing Tong Ren Tang has launched many scientific research cooperation agreements with institutes around the world. At present, the company has carried out several clinical experiments on Angong Niuhuang pills as a treatment for stroke and has gained a large amount of basic data that proves the security, effectiveness and scientific basis of the treatment. The company also worked together with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences on the role of sporoderm-broken spores of ganoderma lucidum in fighting against smog. TCM and cognitive theories of western medicine are gradually integrating and promoting each other through scientific research.

(3) From unawareness to "fans", culture promotion makes foreigners believe in traditional Chinese intelligence

Culture promotion always brings surprises. Beijing Tong Ren Tang is gradually making more and more foreign fans of TCM through cultural promotion. So far, the company has helped about 30 million foreigners experience TCM and gained hundreds of thousands of fans.

With development of the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing Tong Ren Tang is becoming a bridge linking different countries together and a highway improving connectivity between people from different countries. The TCM culture is also changing many people's lifestyles. Establishment of the Tong Ren Tang TCM Health Care Center has also changed local people's health care ideas. A native Polish family that used to dislike TCM because of its smell now regularly takes a TCM decoction each week and is enjoying a healthy life based on TCM.

Straddling national divides with culture

Man is the basis of business development. The overseas business development of Tong Ren Tang focuses on those TCM products that are indispensable to the Chinese people and attracts people from around the world. In the family of Tong Ren Tang, culture brings people with different skin colors, of different nations and speaking different languages together.

The Beijing Tong Ren Tang culture has attracted eyes from all over the world. The TCM brand with 353 years of history is having a greater and greater impact on western countries. In 2014, Tong Ren Tang developed its business in New Zealand and in 2015 and 2016, the company participated in the Boao Forum for Asia as the only representative for enterprises and spoke for the TCM industry. In 2016, the company started business in the United States and launched two stores, a culture exhibition center and a medical center in New York, Log Angeles and San Francisco. The government of San Francisco also set Sept 30 as the "Day of Tong Ren Tang". In November 2016, Tong Ren Tang arrived in Africa and Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, was present at the launch of the first Tong Ren Tang store on the continent.

During the SOE open house event in 2019, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, then-chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, visited the Tong Ren Tang plant in Tai Po Industrial Estate, Hong Kong, to learn about Tong Ren Tang's TCM culture and its development in countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. She spoke highly of Tong Ren Tang's contribution to economic and social development in Hong Kong.


Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, then-chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, visits the Tong Ren Tang plant in Tai Po Industrial Estate, Hong Kong, during the SOE open house event in 2019. [Photo provided to sasac.gov.cn]

The core of Tong Ren Tang's culture is cohesion. It's hard to imagine that Tong Ren Tang, a traditional TCM brand, has recruited local workers who today account for nearly 95 percent of its total employees. TCM is no longer a career for only Chinese people, but an opportunity for people devoted to health care.

Do good to society via culture

Doing good to society has always been the source of Tong Ren Tang's brand and culture. In foreign countries, doing good to society is also a reliable path on which the company can go global and further develop. Tong Ren Tang is now becoming more and more popular among foreign people, forming a health-based spur of TCM culture.

Since 2014, Tong Ren Tang has initiated a series of health care lectures themed on its culture and health care and intended to deepen people's recognition of its products so that more people will benefit from TCM. This publicity has made Tong Ren Tang the most influential TCM brand in Asia.

As a carrier of culture, Tong Ren Tang sponsored "Beijing Opera Night in Melbourne", launched by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China and the National Peking Opera Company. Combining the national medicine culture and the quintessential music of China, the event not only provided Chinese people in Melbourne with a traditional opera feast, but also promoted traditional Chinese culture and boosted Tong Ren Tang's impact overseas.


A total of 1,680 people from Tong Ren Tang practices Health Qigong Ba Duan Jin, which sets the Guinness World Records.

As a SOE, Tong Ren Tang has been actively fulfilling social responsibility and participating in social public service, an illustration of Tong Ren Tang's health care spirit. 

(Executive editor: Li Zhiyong)