China's Dietary Supplement Sector Still Underdeveloped
   2013-04-08 15:29:07      Web Editor: Xu Fei

With improved living standards in Chinese cities, Chinese urbanites have been exhibiting a greater demand for nutritional supplements in recent years.

But experts who participated in the ongoing World Health Industry Conference in Beijing point out that China's dietary supplement industry remains underdeveloped. CRI's Xu Fei has more.

The 2nd World Health Industry Conference opened in Beijing on Sunday, April 7, 2013. Cao Zeyi (2nd from right), vice dean of the Medical School at Tsinghua University and former deputy minister of Health is the chairman of this year's conference. [Photo:]

Reporter: As Chinese people continue to pay more attention to their health than ever before, Chinese urbanites are not only demanding more rigidity in terms of food safety, they've also been spending more money on health products.

Statistics from the China Health Care Association, an organization affiliated with the Chinese government, reveal that over the past two decades expenditure on health products has grown at an annual rate of between 15 and 30 percent.

These nutritional supplements have also gained in popularity among Chinese youngsters. The father of one college student explains his reasons for purchasing dietary supplements for his child.

"It's beneficial for my child's health and I think my investment is worthwhile if my child is able to achieve his academic goals while maintaining good health. I think many parents are of the same opinion."

Cao Zeyi, vice dean of the Medical School at Tsinghua University and former deputy minister of health believes that China's nutritional supplement industry is growing, but adds that many businesses within the industry are currently of a poor standard.

"In fact, there's big demand in the dietary supplement industry. Hence, a number of disqualified domestic companies, including producers of these dietary supplements and medicare institutions, want to make profits from selling fake products. These counterfeit products gain access to the market as a result of loopholes in regulations and the lack of rigid supervision."

However, despite this worrying news, the increased demand for nutritional supplements within China has attracted more dietary-supplement manufacturers from around the world who hope to cash in on the trend.

Jeff Crowther, CEO and executive director of the US-China Health Products Association, addresses the World Health Industry Conference, which opened in Beijing on Sunday, April 7, 2013. [Photo:]

Joining the World Health Industry Conference in Beijing on Sunday, Jeff Crowther, CEO and executive director of the US-China Health Products Association said that the dietary supplement industry in China has a lot of potential, but is highly underdeveloped at this point.

He further explained that in the US and Europe, there are many places for people to buy dietary supplement, including supermarkets, food or health-product stores and pharmacies. In contrast, China's access to health products is quite limited.

"China right now has only pharmacies. Pharmacies are really not an ideal place to sell dietary supplement right now. But with what we have, the pharmacies are the places to buy medicines. And I think that's one of the big problems in education why Chinese people will typically see dietary supplement more like a medicine and something that they can cure and treat diseases. And that's not what it is for."

Market access is not the sole obstacle however, as Jeff Crowther also thinks that cumbersome approval procedures hinders the development of China's dietary supplement industry.

"In China, it's not that simple and takes over 2 years to get the registration and can cost about 50 to 60 thousand US dollars. And all the testing has to be done on your product to get the registration. So that's kept a lot of companies out of the market and that's kept a lot of domestic companies from investing in that sector because it is quite expensive."

Statistics from the China Health Care Association report reveal that over the past 15 years, roughly 644 types of nutritional supplement have been exported to China, 63 percent of which came from the US.

Tai Chi performances are shown during the opening ceremony of the 2nd World Health Industry Conference in Beijing on Sunday, April 7, 2013. [Photo:]

The first World Health Industry Conference was launched last year, also on April 7th --- World Health Day. The conference aims to tap the potential of health-related products worldwide.

For CRI, I'm Xu Fei


         claims the copyright of all material and information produced originally by our staff. No person, organization and/or company shall reproduce, disseminate or broadcast the content in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of holds neither liability nor responsibility for materials attributed to any other source. Such information is provided as reportage and dissemination of information but does not necessarily reflect the opinion of or endorsement by CRI.


Media Scan
Seven Sentenced to Death for Drug Smuggling
A court in Shandong has sentenced seven people to death for drug smuggling; three others have been given death with a 2-year reprieve.
Survey Shows Excessive Intake of Aluminum
Residents of northern China and those under the age of 14 may be ingesting more aluminum than healthy.
• C4: Bad Boys
Join us for the latest episode of CRI's hilarious comedy news show.
• C4: World Cup Fever
Join us for the latest episode of CRI's hilarious comedy news show.
In Depth

The Sound Stage
China Revealed
My Chinese Life
Photo Gallery
Learn Chinese
"In" Chinese
Chatting in Chinese
Pop Culture
Traditional Culture
Living Chinese
Chinese Studio
Chinese Class
Learn English
Special English
Pop Chart
Everyday English
Fabulous Snaps
CRI News  | Xinhua  | People's Daily Online   |  | China Daily  |  Global Times  | China Job  |  China Tibet Online  |  | eBeijing  | Beijing Today  | China-Eurasia Expo  | APEC Yiwu Conference  | Chinese Embassy in S.Africa  | Chinese Embassy in Australia  | Chinese Embassy in NZ