Afexa takes on Hong Kong cold and flu

The Hong Kong cold and flu season nothing to sneeze at, says Canada-based Afexa Life Sciences, makers of Cold FX. The company will launch their ginseng-based cold product in Hong Kong and Macau this fall. The product introduction is timed for the brink of cold and flu season. Allergy and cold symptoms are the most common ailments among Hong Kong consumers, according to a Euromonitor Report, largely because of high use of air conditioning and a resulting twice-per-year cold and flu season.

Afexa will market the product within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sector, which is proving to be a growing market in Hong Kong. About 60% of the Hong Kong population has consulted a TCM practitioner and even greater numbers use herbal supplements on a regular basis, according to Chemistry in Hong Kong journal.

Cold FX has had remarkable success in Canada as a leading natural cold and flu remedy enhanced by the recommendation of pharmacists. Now the company plans to leverage Cold FX's popularity among a shared Canadian and Asian consumer base. "We hope to benefit from our recognition and acceptance by the large Chinese communities in Toronto and Vancouver who know we have Health Canada approval, use the product and who have ties to Hong Kong," said Warren Michael, vice president of communications.

Euromonitor reported that 2008 proved to be a positive year for TCM remedies in Hong Kong, due to new product introductions and a push for stronger regulatory bodies and formal standards for TCM in China and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government is currently in the process of initiating an international Chinese Medicine Center to create standards of practice; formal licensing and education requirements of TCM practitioners, herbal research projects and support for the manufacturing, distribution and export of Chinese herbal supplements.

"This initiative very much fits into our strategic expansion plans, and specifically is the first step in our plans for Asia," said Jack Moffatt, Executive Chairman of Afexa in a press statement. "We are very pleased with our new partner and with the business plan they have developed for our COLD-FX product. We expect shipments to the Hong Kong marketplace to start in the current fiscal year, and while we are projecting modest initial quantities, we expect to see significant growth in Asia as we gain research and market knowledge over the next two to three years," Moffatt said (As of press time, Afexa was not able to share the name of their Hong Kong partner).

Afexa reports second quarter results May 18, 2009 of $6.1 million for the three months ending March 31, 2008, down from $10.7 for the second quarter in 2008. The drop was due mainly to lower sales and a net loss increase. The company reports that with economic conditions permitting this year will remain profitable, largely due to a shift in the seasonality of shipments. In addition, the company has invested strongly in branding and product introduction as an Official Supplier for the Canadian Olympic Teams at the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012. COLD FX will also be available in the Olympic Village stores.

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