Ms. Yongling Ding, the Deputy Managing Director of Beijing Tong Ren Tang (Group) Company Limited in China and the General Manager of Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Company Limited in Hong Kong, is the key person who leads the 347 year-old Tong Ren Tang out of the country. Beijing Tong Ren Tang was founded in 1669 and has taken root in 25 countries and regions globally, with more than 117 retail pharmacies and health centers.
When talking about leading the time-honored Tong Ren Tang towards the global development journey, Yongling Ding expressed deep thoughts and feelings, “Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Company Limited aims to bring the Chinese traditional ways of health-care and the high-quality products to everyone around the world. ‘Creating a healthy life and sharing it with all’ is our goal. Therefore, we turn our eyes on the unfamiliar overseas markets.”
In 1993, Beijing Tong Ren Tang opened its first pharmacy in Hong Kong, and it is known as the very first overseas retail store. In 2003, it set up an international company which focuses on the Southeast Asian markets. After ten years, it became a Hong Kong listed company with targets on the mainstream markets in Europe and North America. Starting from scratch and building up from nothing, Beijing Tong Ren Tang experienced a lot during the process of overseas development in the past years. Beijing Tong Ren Tang has made brilliant achievements in just 20 years. However, many may not know the difficulties and struggles that was encountered while developing the overseas markets, as well as the toil and tribulation as they were trying to find their foothold in Hong Kong.
“Most people would think that working in Hong Kong is a cushy job, but the reality is far different from the imagination”. High expectation and cost of living standard in Hong Kong, its sky-high office rents as well as high labor cost made their startup difficult. They had to spend every single dollar wisely in order to control the operational cost in the beginning. “I can clearly remember all of us squeezing ourselves into a tram, which is the cheapest public transportation without air-con during the rush hour everyday on and off from work. They enacted as a pioneer to leave their own hometowns and stayed on a strange land. Our staff had undergone a lot of arduousness that others may not have experienced,” says Yongling Ding.
She guided her team and opened up a path for the company to the world, taking advantages of Hong Kong’s distinctiveness in trading and investment. She consistently innovates different patterns of investment, from the earliest investment in intangible assets to the joint venture investment, and finally running as a sole investor to operate independently. Evolving from a passive investment model to an active model, her company gradually mastered the initiative of management and developed a unique strategy for international development.
“An innovative business plan is essential for the international development,” says Yongling Ding. She indicates that facing the challenges of world economic integration and trading, export and technical restrictions of foreign countries, her overseas team has formed a sophisticated management system. Beijing Tong Ren Tang’s volume of foreign exchange earned by export is still championing the position among the traditional Chinese medicine industry even in times of financial crisis.
Beijing Tong Ren Tang’s overseas team strongly believes on the spirit of “unity and hard work”, which is not only a philosophy of the enterprise, but it also deeply affects every Tong Ren Tang’s staff overseas.
“Tong Ren Tang not only symbolizes a product and a brand, but also represents a culture. As the essence of Chinese culture, we are trying to operate it well and show it to the world.” Yongling Ding always tries her best in doing things, as Tong Ren Tang’s old saying explains——“Despite the complexity of processing herbal medicines, no compromise on cost and labor. Despite the rareness of medicine ingredients, no compromise on quality and standard.” Looking back to 2006, Macau suffered seawater intrusion that made running water from the tap turn into brackish water. Restaurants increased their product price because of the incident, whereas Yongling Ding insisted that the pharmacies in Macau had to use bottled drinking water to boil medicine without raising any price. This is exactly what Yongling Ding always uphold and this is her way of running her business——To serve and to contribute to the community.
Nowadays, Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Company has grown into an international enterprise with more than 900 employees from all over the globe. This health career continuously attracts talented people to join the company. Yongling Ding cherishes talented employee, and she understands the importance of delegating the right person for the right job. She has a very loving and caring heart to all of her employees, giving plenty of opportunities for them to play by their strength.
Yongling Ding shows fully confidence about the future development of Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Company Limited. She says she will continue to forge ahead unconditionally since Tong Ren Tang is her choice and pride. She hopes to lead her team to break through full of brambles and thorns in the journey, showing their innovative, international and professional artisan spirit to the world. She expects that they would open 200 outlets in 40 countries and regions within the thirteen of five-year plan, sowing the seeds of a time-honored traditional Chinese medicine all over the world.