Tiger Balm: Not just your grandmother’s trusted pain remedy

Breaking into new markets, developing new products and enhancing packaging has ensured that the Tiger Balm brand keep its loyal following for 100 years while gaining a younger audience.

By Batandwa Malingo

“Some are fantastic ideas but we cannot just run with them because it (Tiger Balm) is medicinal, so we are very careful because we do not want to fail or to make a product which may be poisonous as that may ruin our image and we would not recover.”

Tiger Balm is one of the few items you might find at most households and the owner may turn to be obsessive over their Tiger Balm because of miraculous effect on muscle pain.

The world-renowned ointment dates back to the late 1800’s when Chinese herbalist Aw Chu Kin developed the ointment and sold it at his small medicine shop in Rangoon.

He later died in 1908, leaving the special ointment with a touch of menthol to his sons, Aw Boo Haw which means gentle tiger and Aw Boon Par, which means gentle leopard.

Like the rest of the Tiger Balm users, his sons saw the potential of the product and moved to Singapore where they developed a manufacturing firm and gave the product its name.

Executive Director for Haw Par Corporation, Ah Kuan Han was tasked with developing the Tiger Balm brand since 1991 said the company had to adapt their business model due to the changing business landscape.

“Our products had a strong menthol smell and we needed to change that to appeal to young people. We made scent adjustments. Also, you don’t want look oily or smelly at the office, people are going to ask if you are sick. Our products are now suitable to use in an office environment. Those are some of the adjustments we had to make to appeal to the younger generation,” he said.

Han said the company developed anti-mosquito products and added lavender fragrance to some to attract both males and females. He said they had to be careful with how they develop their products though, so as not to lose consumers and also not to be over-excited and make mistakes in manufacturing.

“We have our product development team internally, students are also very keen on us, they come and talk to us, so we generate new ideas. You must remember however, this is a medicine so you can’t come up with a new product that is far removed from the original product” he said.

Han said some ideas come from consumers who, according to him have bombarded their social media and website with feedback.

“Some consumers have fantastic ideas but we cannot just run with them because it is medicinal, so we are very careful because we do not want to fail or to manufacture a product which may be poisonous as that may ruin our image and we would not recover,” he said.

Tiger Balm is produced from natural ingredients and Han believes that while anyone can mix ingredients, it takes a special team to make a product that has survived for more than 100 years.

“It’s not just about the ingredients we put in, it’s how we blend them. Two people can cook with the same ingredients but the finished product would not taste the same, it’s a skill. You check how much of and when you add the next ingredient. It’s our own technique, we add high quality products and blend them in a very special way that has attracted millions of consumers across the world,” he said.

Tiger Balm products are available in more than 100 countries across the world, but this is not enough for Han as he plans to dominate the whole world with the product.

“We are trying to get into new markets so we are always looking for distributors in countries where we do not have presence. For example in South Africa e do not have a distributor anymore so it is difficult to get our products there,” he said.

Han revealed that some South Africans saw the gap and has since seized the opportunity.
“They travel from South Africa to Asia or to the Middle East and buy our products in bulks to sell them back at home, but we want to have our official distributor there (South Africa).”

Han said the group has formed an alliance with Alkem Labs Limited to market, sell and distribute Tiger Balm products in India.

“We had another distributor in India but we decided to change to Alkem because they are the 5th largest pharmaceutical company in India and the country has more than 1 billion people. We want them to access our products and we believe this company will help us achieve that,” he said.

While Han plans to take the Tiger Balm brand to countries where it is not yet available, the products did not get a warm welcome in some countries in the past due to misconceptions.

“There was a misconception that Tiger Balm contains tiger parts, when we sold the product in the UK people were saying we are terrible, we are killing tigers to make Tiger Balm, we had to deal with that. We would not be able to sell Tiger Balm for that cheap price if we used tiger parts because it would be expensive,” Han said.

Besides misconceptions, the brand has also been marred with fake products using its packaging.
“We are a registered brand in more than 150 countries in the world. There were people who made fake products and claim they are Tiger Balm. Other people used our Tiger Balm packaging on their products, we had to take legal action,” he said.

Han revealed that Haw Par Corporation Limited sells 50 million Tiger Balm ointment jars per year.
The ointment is the company’s flagship product.

Expat Abroad: Sfiso Sokhela makes Shanghai his home away from home

Meet Sfiso Sokhela, the 28-year old English teacher from Vryheid in KwaZulu Natal who has made Shanghai in China his second home.

Why did you move to China?
I moved to China because it was a chance for me to explore a bit more of the world and it was not as expensive as I thought it would be. I moved as well to learn and develop as a teacher. I am based in Shanghai.

How many years have you been in the country?
I have been in the country now for a year and 2 months but it feels like I just landed yesterday.

What was the most challenging adjustment for you?
I have to admit that the culture and the pace at which life goes here was a big adjustment. People are always on the move and if they get an opportunity they take it, doesn’t matter where it leads them. I was surprised by the culture as there are some similarities and vast differences. I know at home grandparents, if they are close enough, take care of the children, take them to school and bring them home until their parents come home. Here in China if you look when the school bus comes to drop off the kids or pick them up its the grandparents and a few housewives with the grandparents. I thought this was strange at first but I learnt that most parents work such difficult hours that the grandparents have to do this and they love doing it.

How China different from South Africa?
I have to also say the public transport,  taxis, the subway and even the busses are very well run. The trains and bus run on time but during rush hour you see that there are really a lot of people in the city. Add the fact that there is free WiFi and that data is cheap. It is so easy to do things and spend hours and hours on your phone streaming shows and movies.

The other major difference is the work ethic. Public services and security is incredible. The police are very efficient and response time is very quick and the public services are a lot cheaper than I expected. However, the pollution levels are pretty bad but I have to admit that they are improving.

What is the fashion, food and weather like, compared to SA?
The fashion is on point here. You get people who really know how to go all out, wearing big brands. You’ll also find few people who wear questionable clothing.

What was the first thing you noticed about the Chinese that was different to South Africans?
The first thing I noticed was how brutally honest they are – they tell it like it is. The other thing I noticed was how they believe that if something is bad for you, get it out of your system. So you’ll sometimes see people spitting in
public and it was a bit of an adjustment but I have come to understand it.

How different is the work culture compared to South Africa?
The work culture here is unbelievable. People travel across the country to find jobs, irrespective of how small it is or the kind of job it is. There are so many parents who leave their children with their grandparents to find work in the cities as they develop and grow so fast. If you choose to leave a job you must know that there are at least 30 other people who will be grateful for that job you hate. The people here work hard and they try make sure that their families are taken care of.

What is your favourite place to visit in China?
I am still travelling around China but I have to mention the Great Wall and Hangzhou. These two place are so beautiful. I learnt from one of my students that people died on the wall and they are part of it. The West Lake is so beautiful words cannot describe it. This country is so beautiful and every city has something special about it.

What is your favourite local dish and drink and why?
One of my favourite dishes is Double deep fried pork with lemon and honey dressing. You would think it sounds unhealthy but its so good. Every time I go to the restaurants here I always try get that.

What are other amazing things the outside world doesn’t know about China?
I would have to say is that when they see foreigners, some of the people from the smaller villages stare at you especially if you are a person of colour.

What advice would you give someone visiting China for the first time?
Embrace everything. You are in a different country, they do things differently but if you embrace it and try to adapt you will love it. Come with an open mind.

What is your favourite meal from back home?
The meal I miss most is one of Mom’s dishes, Phutu (pap) and beans with (any kind of meat. When I come home soon, I want to have that as my first meal.

Which go-to spots would you recommend to tourists visiting South Africa?
I would have to say Natal Spa and Resort. It’s a good place to just escape and relax with the family and friends.

What is your favourite thing about South Africa?
Without a doubt, its people. Where I work there are a few South Africans and we speak to each other in IsiZulu, IsiXhosa and Afrikaans. We have a real sense of what it means to be one people as we are so far away from home. When I think of home and the parts that I miss, it’s not the buildings or food or even the nature, it’s the people.

If there is something about South Africa that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime, what would it be?
There is no one thing that I think people should do but a series of things, like going to the Western Cape and doing some winetasting, going to Clarens and going through Golden Gate and spending a week in the Drakensberg.


China-India Forum discusses ‘developmental partnership’

Wang Qingyun
Displayed with permission from China Daily

China and India, both large economies developing at a fast pace, should enhance their cooperation and dialogue to promote their ties and better contribute to the global economy, scholars from both countries said at a weekend forum.

Chinese and Indian academicians gathered at the Second China-India Think Tank Forum on Saturday and Sunday in Beijing to discuss “strategic cooperation and developmental partnership”.

The forum, sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and India’s Ministry of External Affairs, covered issues of strategic communication, trade and investment, people-to-people exchanges and science and technology.

At its opening ceremony, CASS President Wang Weiguang said China and India are “two important forces in the world’s process of multipolarisation” and their think tanks should participate in strengthening their bilateral cooperation.

China-India cooperation benefits not only the two countries, but also Asia and the world, Wang said.

India’s delegation consisted of 17 experts and scholars from 11 Indian think tanks and institutions, said Nalin Surie, delegation head and director general of the Indian Council of World Affairs.

The two countries “are expected to play a much greater role in international affairs”, said Surie, who is also a former Indian ambassador to China.

“We have a variety of reasons to cooperate and collaborate, rather than entering into needless competition or rivalry,” he said. The two countries should ensure that differences between them do not become disputes, he said, but are converted into opportunities for greater cooperation.

China and India established the forum in 2015, and it was first held in December the following year in New Delhi. The two countries will alternate as host of the annual event.

Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale said, “The genesis of this platform lies in our shared belief in the need for greater and more sustained dialogue among our scholars and academics.”

The ambassador called for “sustained and in-depth dialogue” at the governmental as well as societal levels in order to sustain ties between the two countries.

China and India are the world’s two most populous countries and are regarded as important players in the global economy.

Hu Shisheng, director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said on the sidelines of the forum that the two countries should focus on cooperation in development.

They “have many similar aspects in their national conditions”, and communication on developmental issues will help build a more solid foundation for the bilateral ties, Hu said.

-Repubhub/China Daily

Xi conveys his congratulations to BRICS Games

Displayed with permission from China Daily

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the 2017 BRICS Games, which opened in Guangzhou on Saturday. The opening of the first BRICS Games marked an important consensus reached by the BRICS leaders at the Goa Summit in 2016.

While noting that each BRICS member country has its own distinct strengths in sports, Xi said he believes that the BRICS Games will provide a unique opportunity to improve performance, popularise traditional sports, promote sports development and enhance friendship among peoples.

“I hope athletes on all sides will display true sportsmanship and excel in the Games,” the president said in the letter.

The BRICS Games feature the five BRICS member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – competing in 10 events in three sports: men’s basketball, women’s volleyball and wushu, Chinese martial arts.

The 2017 BRICS Games, seen as a prelude to the 2017 BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen in September, give a clear indication that economic and sporting development are closely linked.

Xi said that the Xiamen Summit is expected as an opportunity to make new advances in cultural and the people-to-people exchanges and cooperation, which in turn will help cement public support for BRICS cooperation.

On Monday, Xi also commented that the BRICS cooperation will be more productive and usher in a new “golden decade.”

Xi made the remarks when meeting with the heads of delegations from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa who are in Beijing to attend the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting.

The BRICS cooperation mechanism has been in existence for ten years and BRICS members have focused on development, which not only benefits the people in the five countries but also offers a recipe for the world to address food and security problems, Xi said.

“BRICS countries are a community of shared interests and future,” Xi said, urging the countries to give full play to the win-win spirit and jointly contribute to the development of the organisation.

– Repubhub/Xinhua

Subgroups of BRICS brainstorm at meeting

Zhang Yue in Fuzhou
Displayed with permission from China Daily

Political parties, think tanks and civil organisations in the five member nations of BRICS should share their wisdom with one another and take the lead role in building a more inclusive platform that benefits all sides, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China said on Sunday.

Political parties, think tanks, urged to share wisdom to benefit all members

Political parties, think tanks and civil organisations in the five member nations of BRICS should share their wisdom with one another and take the lead role in building a more inclusive platform that benefits all sides, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China said on Sunday.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made his comments when addressing the BRICS Political Parties, Think-Tanks and Civil Society Organisations Forum held at Fuzhou, Fujian province.

BRICS comprises five major developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Sunday’s forum, aimed at boosting stronger BRICS cooperation by offering proposals for development, is a preparatory event ahead of the ninth BRICS Leaders Meeting scheduled in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September.

The 10-year-old group, which added South Africa in 2010, has become a key platform of cooperation for emerging markets and developing countries, as well as an important driver for boosting global economic growth and perfecting global governance, Liu said.

This was the first time representatives from political parties, think tanks and civil society organisations from member countries gathered together at preparatory forums and meetings under the BRICS framework. Previous related events have gathered academics and civil groups only, said Luan Jianzhang, director-general of the research office of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, who organised this year’s forum.

“We came to the idea of bringing political parties into the forum because policy makers need suggestions from professionals and grounded feed–back from civil groups,” he said.

He said as information technology development is robust and information travels fast, it is important for BRICS to take innovative steps in exploring new avenues of cooperation.

Liu Yong, chief economist of the China Development Bank, who attended the forum, said financial innovation was one key topic under think tank discussion in this year’s forum that aims to make financing under the BRICS framework more efficient.

Marcos Degaut, deputy special secretary of strategic affairs with Brazil’s presidential office, said bringing political parties into the dialogue will be of great help in perfecting the BRICS framework under the new international situation.

He said trends like rising protectionism may pose challenges to the BRICS dialogue mechanism, which makes communication between political parties and think tanks even more important.

The forum drew over 400 participants from BRICS members and other developing countries.

-Repubhub/China Daily

Numerous sporting wins for South Africa this weekend

Despite the cold creeping in this past weekend, South African sportsmen made us proud, delivering nothing but their best on their respective fields. It was a weekend filled with great victories for Bafana Bafana, The Springboks and two of our national athletes, Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine.

Bafana Bafana played Nigeria at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on Saturday, beating their counterparts with a score of 2 – 0. The team played under the leadership of their newly-appointed captain, Thulani Hlatshwayo and re-appointed coach Stuart Baxter. City Press reports that this was “Bafana Bafana’s first win over Nigeria in an official game in more than two decades”.

Also on Saturday, the Bokke hosted France at Loftus Versfeld in the first match of their three-Test series. The Springboks’ 37-14 homeground victory over France moved them up two spots in the official World Rugby rankings, now placing them in 5th position.

Meanwhile, sprint sensation Wayde van Niekerk breaks yet another record! Van Niekerk took the 200m half-lap win at the Racers Grand Prix at a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, in 19.84 to break the two-year-old mark of 19.87 held by Anaso Jobodwana. Van Niekerk broke his Personal Best record time of 19.90, which was set in Potchefstroom in April when he won the SA title by 0.06. Akani Simbine, South Africa’s 100m record holder, also made us proud when he took second place in 10.00 in the short dash.


World Day Against Child Labour to focus on effects of conflict

Displayed with permission from The Jordan Times

AMMAN — Today marks the World Day Against Child Labour, launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in order to focus global attention on the extent of child labour and the efforts needed to eliminate it.

This year’s theme “In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour” seeks to shed light on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour, according to the UN website.

The Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) said that the 2016 survey of child labour in the Kingdom showed that the number of working children between the ages of five and 17 totalled 75,982, of whom 8,868 were female, constituting 11.7 per cent, according to a SIGI statement.

Regarding nationality, 60,787 working children were Jordanians, 11,098 were Syrian and 4,096 were from other nationalities.

The survey — issued by the University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies, in cooperation with the ILO, the Labour Ministry and the Department of Statistics — showed that 44,917 children (2,393 of whom were female) work in hazardous jobs.

Of the 2,393 girls who worked, SIGI said the survey revealed that 586 girls were aged between five and 11 years, 687 between 12 and 14 years old, while 1,120 girls were aged between 15 and 17.

Leaving school increases the chances for children to stay out of the labour market in the future, SIGI said, noting that the survey estimated that 38 per cent of children who left school before the age of 15 are unemployed.

The survey also concluded that 41 per cent of these children will go longer before securing their first job, the SIGI statement added.

Globally, over 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by conflict, violence and fragility. At the same time, around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year, a third of whom are children, according to www.un.org.

A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The 2017 World Day against Child Labour focuses on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

“Conflicts and disasters have a devastating impact on people’s lives. They kill, maim, injure, force people to flee their homes, destroy livelihoods, push people into poverty and starvation and trap people in situations where their basic human rights are violated,” the website stated.

“Children are often the first to suffer as schools are destroyed and basic services are disrupted. Many children are internally displaced or become refugees in other countries, and are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and child labour,”the site continued.

“Ultimately, millions of children are pushed into child labour by conflicts and disasters,”the website concluded.

-Repubhub/Jordan Times

MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa receives Best Island Hotel by Prime Traveller Awards 2017


We are delighted to announce that MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa has been awarded Best Island Hotel by Prime Traveller Awards 2017.

Prime Traveller is a luxury lifestyle magazine distributed in Russia and its surrounding Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  The award was announced at a glittering affair at Turandot, one of Moscow’s premier
restaurants, on 30 May 2017.

Maria Topolskaya, General Director of TOP Signature PR Agency, accepted the award on behalf of MAIA.  Attached please find the  pic of Maria receiving the award, press release and winners banner/logo.

– AngelFish PR

Power charging stations for electric busses to be created in Moscow

On 2 June 2017, at 17:30, in the Hall for signing agreements H2 (Pavillion H), within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Siemens AG and VNIIR JSC (part of the ABS Electro group) signed an agreement on intentions to work together in projects on the creation of charging infrastructure for electric buses in Russia.

The project was initiated by the Department of Transport of Moscow, as well as other Russian regions interested in the introduction of new technologies. It is worth noting that the Moscow authorities implement the corresponding infrastructure solutions for the capital, including the purchase of electric buses.

Siemens AG has a widely-known experience in development and production of different types of power equipment for mass transit system electrification, particularly high-power fast-charging stations for electric buses. The charging time for such stations is 4-10 minutes, while the whole process is carried out through automated pantographs (current collectors). Such infrastructure projects are already implemented in several European cities such as Hamburg, Stockholm, Vienna, Goteborg and Montreal etc. where till present successfully function innovative environmentally friendly mass transit.

VNIIR JSC is well-experienced in development, production, and implementation of wide spectre of power equipment on the Russian market and particularly in Moscow.

Successful experience of operating electric busses shows that implementation and thewide use of innovative environmentally friendly mass transit, allow to achieve high energy efficiency rates, reduce the risk of congestion due to the use of a more mobile mode of transport, and significantly reduce noise and gas pollution by eliminating CO2 emissions and using energy from renewable sources.

Press statement: Roscongress

BRICS Media Forum to be held in Beijing this week

Displayed with permission from China Daily

BEIJING – The BRICS Media Forum, to be held in Beijing from June 7 to 8, will be attended by the leaders of 25 media groups from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The attendees will discuss topics including multimedia innovation for media development, as well as media outlets’ duty and social responsibility.

The forum next week aims to improve the high-end dialogue platform for the mainstream media of BRICS countries, as well as advance innovation and promote fairness and justice of international public opinion.

During the forum, there will be a BRICS Media Joint Photo Exhibition to show the development and cooperation achievements of BRICS.

Proposed by Xinhua, the forum is jointly organised by the mainstream media groups of BRICS countries.

China, which took over the BRICS presidency this year, will host the Ninth BRICS Summit in September in Xiamen, Fujian province.

-Repubhub/China Daily