Laos’ traditional medicine gaining popularity with Chinese

Continual upgrade of product quality to match customers’ demands is one of the strategies that has helped Ms Khanthong Khamvilaythong to succeed in improving her herbal medicines.
Head of the Handicraft Processing Division of Viengthong Trading Company, Ms Khanthong says that today more than 200 kinds of herbal medicines under the Kating Thong Herbal Medicine brand are on sale at their outlet in Saphanthong-tai village, Sisattanak district.
Many of these products have received a One District, One Product (ODOP) certificate from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, some of which are on display in her showroom.

Herbal medicine products from the Viengthong Trading Company on display at a Lao product festival in Vientiane.

This is one of many ways to increase sale opportunities for local producers. It’s also a good opportunity for a new producer who is looking to break into the market and boost distribution.    
The products being sold at the company include coconut oil, Phyllanthus emblica tea, morinda juice, black sesame juice, bergamot shampoo, honey and other plant-based products.
All of her production processes comply with guidelines set by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Ministry of Health. Ms Khanthong has now submitted a proposal for certification of 13 herbal products under the ODOP scheme and expects to get approval soon.
Before starting the business, Ms Khanthong ran an export business in 2000, selling goods to China, Thailand and Vietnam.
After working as an exporter for six years, she saw that demand was decreasing.
So she looked elsewhere and decided to turn to traditional medicine in 2007-2008. This shift happened by chance. At the time she suffered from gastrointestinal problems and treated the condition with traditional medicine.
This was her starting point for developing traditional medicines for sale. At first, there were not many customers and most of them were elderly.
In 2010, she saw her customer base increase thanks to word-of-mouth promotion.
Today, Ms Khanthong says the company will step up production depending on customer demand.
To increase its export base, the company attends trade expos to raise awareness of the products. The company has already attended trade expos in Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. These events are very important because they allow new customers to access the company’s products and it has proven to be a good marketing strategy.
“We have already had good results from these expos. Today we have some regular Chinese customers who buy our products in Vientiane and sell them in their own country,” said Ms Khanthong.
To boost income, the company also sells wooden carvings, textiles, and silk items. Some are made by local producers who put them on display in the company’s showroom.
Ms Khanthong thanked the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for allowing the company to become a place for the display of ODOP products from across the country.
Today, the company has branches in Huaphan, Savannakhet, Khammuan and Champassak provinces.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 10, 2018

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