"Decades ago, foreigners would walk into our store and be fascinated
by the huge variety of herbs that were available," said Zhang Yongsheng,
general manager assistant of the Hangzhou Hu Qingyutang Pharmaceutical
Co., Ltd, "Our store is a common stop for foreigners visiting Hangzhou
because it provides some real insight into Chinese culture. Some
multinational companies even invite us to give lectures about the
history and importance of TCM."
With a history of over 140 years, Hu Qingyutang is one of the oldest
brands of Chinese medicine. For many tourists in Hangzhou, it is an
Situated on Hangzhou's popular Hefangjie tourist street, the museum,
which also serves as a pharmacy, covers over 4,000 square meters. It was
the first museum in China to focus on Chinese medicine culture and
explores every aspect of the TCM industry, from ingredient cultivation
all the way to retail and prescriptions.
On the first floor of the museum, pharmacists still pack and sell
Chinese medicine just like they did a hundred years ago. Although the
pharmacy still serves over 2,000 customers every day, Chinese medicine
selling is no longer its main function. "The museum is an education base
for students in Hangzhou. Many local parents bring their children here
to learn about traditional Chinese medicine," Zhang said.
Visitors to the museum clearly outnumber customers on any given day.
This combination of medicine and tourism perfectly characterizes the TCM
industry in Zhejiang.
According to a 2016 document released by China's Ministry of Culture
and Tourism and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese
Medicine, the country plans to set up 10 demonstration zones and 100
demonstration bases for TCM health tourism within the next three years.
"Hu Qingyutang values quality. This has been at the core of our
business strategy ever since we opened in 1874. The Zhejiang Provincial
Food and Drug Administration has inspected our products and spoke highly
of their quality," said Liu Jun, president of the company. "The museum
gives visitors the chance to see every step of our process in a clear
and transparent way."
In Tiantai county, Taizhou, the Zhejiang Tianhuang Pharmaceutical
Co., Ltd is one of the biggest producers of dendrobium officinale, a
precious Chinese herb.
The artificial cultivation technique used for dendrobium officinale,
developed by Tianhuang, is truly one-of-a-kind in China. Many
professionals in the TCM industry, as well as interested customers, have
been flocking to the county over the past several years.
In 2017, a health tourism base was established in Tiantai, allowing
visitors to learn the history and uses of dendrobium officinale, admire
the mountainous areas where wild dendrobium officinale used to grow and
taste food cooked with the herb.
"We want to contribute to the culture and tourism industries in
Tiantai county, where we built the company from nothing," said Chen
Lizuan, president of Tianhuang Group.