A key driver of change and modernisation for the traditional family business Eu Yan Sang, Richard Eu brought TCM to a global market

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Richard Eu is the man credited with diversifying and modernising Eu Yan Sang, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) business founded by his great-grandfather Eu Kwong Pai in Perak, Malaysia in 1879. The younger Eu, who currently serves as non-executive chairman of the board, helmed the business for 28 years, taking it from a traditional Chinese medicine store to a multi-outlet giant offering integrated TCM healthcare products and services on a global level.

Eu, who is also the grandson of prominent tycoon and philanthropist Eu Tong Sen, joined the family business in 1989 as general manager after stints as a banker and stockbroker. The University of London law graduate sought to broaden TCM’s appeal by launching a number of easy-to-use products, including herbal soup mixes, ginseng teabags and Chinese medicine in capsules, to save customers’ time on the lengthy traditional preparation processes. He also widened its distribution channels to include pharmacies, supermarkets and health-food stores, and employed English-speaking staff to promote TCM to younger people.

Eu Yan Sang also embarked on an online pivot in 2017. Since then, the firm has linked up with digital health firm MyDoc to offer teleconsultation services to patients; customers can also now purchase its products via an online store, social media channels or WhatsApp.

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The first historical record of traditional Chinese medicine was the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine), written around 300 BC. 

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