South China's Guangdong Province, the country's largest exporter of traditional Chinese medicine posted a 8.5 percent increase year-on-year in 2005 exports, but is still upset for being unable to make a major bid in the western market.
Figures released by the Guangzhou Customs in this capital of Guangdong suggested that the export broke US$100 million for the first time, representing a 8.5 percent yearly increase or 24.4 percent of the country's total.
Among the exports, that made by private firms increased by 58 percent from the previous year, and made up of 58.6 percent of the province's exports.
Exports of medicinal materials made by state-owned and foreign-invested firms, which used to be the backbone exporters, however, witnessed a dramatic downturn of 29.4 and 18.2 percent year-on-year, respectively.
Industry insiders here said that most of small exporters could hardly form a collective strength in the exploration of the overseas market, which is mainly concentrated in Hong Kong and Taiwan regions, as well as Japan and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries for now.
Only 5.4 percent of the exported herbs went to the European and American market, according to the customs statistics.
Experts here said that the registration of traditional Chinese medicine in western markets precipitates high costs, besides technical barriers. Most herbs were only registered as health food or food supplements rather than medicine in the foreign market, which has hindered the intensive marketing of exports.
(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2006)