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Seventh Chinese Medicine Fair Opens Next Week
Mainland Consumers Sold on Chinese Medicine, New HKTDC Survey Reveals

Dr Albert Wong, Founding President, Modernized Chinese Medicine International Association Ltd (MCMIA), details the programme for the 7th ICMCM
Dr Vivian Taam Wong, Advisor (Integrative Medicine), Hospital Authority, introduces the conference's main themes and speakers
Dr Edmund Lee, Executive Director, Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine Ltd, outlines the progress made by his organisation over the past seven years
Pansy Yau, Deputy Chief Economist, HKTDC, presents highlights of the survey on Chinese medicine in the mainland

5 August 2008 - The vast majority of mainlanders turn to Chinese medicine to cure what ails them, according to a recently published survey conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine Ltd.

For the March 2008 survey, 1,800 residents of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang were asked about their consumption of Chinese medicine. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 60.

"Results show that 97 per cent of respondents recognise the effectiveness and advantages of Chinese medicine in treating some diseases," said HKTDC Deputy Chief Economist Pansy Yau. "Many of them purchase Chinese medicine in retail stores, and two-thirds said they keep them at home for use. They also show keen interest in health supplements."

Last year, average annual spending on medical and health-care services, per person, exceeded RMB1,000 among high-income mainland residents.

Many Hong Kong enterprises selling traditional or modernised Chinese medicine and health supplements are eager to tap into the burgeoning mainland market, according to Ms Yau. "Competition in the low-end health product market is extremely intense, and Hong Kong-branded products are more popular among high-income mainland consumers. We recommend that Hong Kong companies target the middle-to-high-end market, emphasising Hong Kong's excellence in quality control, product safety and advances in research and development," added Ms Yau.

Survey highlights include:

Perception of Chinese medicine:

  • 97 per cent of respondents recognise the effectiveness and advantages of Chinese medicine
  • Respondents generally believe that Chinese medicine can treat diseases that are difficult to be treated by Western medicine
  • Respondents believe that Chinese medicine has fewer side effects and can strengthen their body. As for Western medicine, they believe it treats diseases quickly and can be taken easily

Consumption pattern of Chinese medicine:

  • 93 per cent of respondents purchase Chinese medicine in retail stores to treat minor diseases
  • 66 per cent of respondents keep Chinese medicine at home
  • Most respondents use Chinese medicine to treat influenza/fever (64 per cent), strengthen their bodies (50 per cent) and treat colds (38 per cent)
  • Respondents get the majority of their medical information from friends and relatives, followed by TV and radio commercials, salespeople and newspaper and magazine ads

Consumption pattern of health supplements:

  • Respondents believe that taking health supplements can reduce their chances of getting sick, but only 38 per cent have taken health supplements in the past year. The three main types consumed are:
    • nutrient supplements (59 per cent)

    • general health food and tonics (55 per cent)

    • health food with special functions (23 per cent)
  • Those who have taken health supplements say they spend an average of RMB$214 a month on them
  • When choosing health supplements, respondents believe that their most important functions are to strengthen the immune system, supply additional nutrients and fight fatigue

Perception of Hong Kong brands:

  • 23 per cent of respondents prefer Hong Kong-branded Chinese medicine and health supplements
  • Those who prefer Hong Kong brands are largely from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou
  • Those who prefer Hong Kong brands tend to believe in products backed by scientific proof and clinical research. They know about such quality certifications as GAP and GMP. They are willing to pay higher prices for well-known and imported brands

Recommendations for Hong Kong companies:

  • Target the middle-to-high-end market. The low-end segment is extremely competitive, and those who prefer Hong Kong brands belong to the high-income group. They are willing to pay higher prices for imported brands
  • Products should be made in the form of tablets, essences, capsules and granules, all of which are convenient to consume
  • Companies should pay full attention to the laws governing research, production, sales and the import and export of Chinese medicine and health supplements in the mainland

International Conference & Exhibition of the Modernization of Chinese Medicine & Health Products (ICMCM)

The survey shows that the Chinese medicine market has immense potential. Hong Kong has long been a trading centre for Chinese medicine. The export of Chinese medicine for the first six months of 2008 totaled HK$1.075 billion, a 9.5 per cent increase over the same period last year. The top five markets are the Chinese mainland, Japan, the United States, Taiwan and Indonesia.

The 7th ICMCM, which takes 14-18 August at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been created to help Hong Kong companies seize the market opportunities. Organised by the HKTDC and the Modernized Chinese Medicine International Association Ltd (MCMIA), the event will host more than 100 exhibitors from eight countries and regions: Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

A wide range of Chinese medicine, health supplements, health care and therapy products, raw material, equipment and related services and research and development will be showcased. Japan, Korea and such Chinese mainland cities as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Gansu will feature group pavilions.

"Chinese medicine is becoming more and more popular around the world," said Dr Albert Wong, Founding President of MCMIA. "Western countries are increasingly realising the value of Chinese medicine in treating chronic diseases and improving quality of life," he added.

A large-scale conference, "The Integration of Scientific Research and Development in Novel Chinese Medicines," will take place 14-15 August, featuring speakers from Hong Kong, Canada, the Chinese mainland, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the US. At the conference, Dr David Eisenberg, Director of the Osher Research Centre and Associate Professor of Harvard Medical School, will deliver a keynote speech, "Exploring the Treasure House of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine): Combining Expertise in TCM with State of the Science Technology to Establish 21st Century Integrative Medicine." Dr Jacqueline Shan, President, CEO and CSO of CV Technologies Inc, will talk about COLD-fX, a Canadian natural medicine success story.

A series of public forums will also be held to provide practical health tips, while the Business Exchange Forum and industry public forums have been created to promote market intelligence and cooperation among industry players, academics and the general public.

Through its network of worldwide offices, the HKTDC has organised more than 30 buying missions, with 600 buyers coming from Australia, Canada, Chile, the Chinese mainland, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

The ICMCM is open only to trade visitors during the first two days (14-15 August); the public is welcome to attend during the last three days. Tickets, at HK$25 during the day and HK$10 after 6pm, are necessary.

The ICMCM will be held concurrently with three other fairs: Food Expo, the Hong Kong International Wine Fair and the Hong Kong International Medical & Health Care Fair.

Fair website: www.hktdc.com/icmcm

Note: From 6 August to 14 September, the HKCEC's Hall 1 Concourse (indoor pedestrian walkway between Phase 1 and Phase 2) will be temporarily closed for expansion work. Visitors attending events in HKCEC Phase 2 (Food Expo, ICMCM, Hong Kong International Medical & Health Care Fair) during the closure should use the Expo Drive Entrance (see attached map). A special public bus service (Citybus 25R) has been arranged to circulate between Expo Drive Central and the United Centre Bus Terminus in Admiralty. The Hong Kong International Wine Fair, to be held at Phase 1 of HKCEC, will be unaffected.

Media enquiries
Please contact the HKTDC's Media and Public Affairs Department:
Katherine Chan     Tel: (852) 2584 4537     Email: katherine.cm.chan@tdc.org.hk

About the HKTDC
Established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 offices worldwide, including 11 in the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and Asia. The HKTDC also organises trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, visit www.hktdc.com

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