HONG KONG—Asia is fast blossoming into one of the world's most lucrative of natural products marketplaces, buoyed by a growing global acceptance of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a boom in organic farming throughout the region. Indeed, the momentum has gathered such pace that industry experts are touting Asia as the fastest-growing nutraceutical, organic and herbal market in the next five years.
The transformation is being fast-tracked by Asian governments that are methodically bringing their regulatory structures into line with US and European standards, a move that is facilitating the flow of quality-controlled products in and out of the region.
In response to all this activity, New Hope Natural Media will stage the first of what is expected to be an annual event, Natural Products Expo Asia, in Hong Kong May 15-18.
More than 350 Asian and international companies are expected to exhibit, with China, Japan and the US having the strongest presence. An estimated 6,000 international retail and wholesale buyers are anticipated to attend.
Expo Asia advisory board member Daniel Fung, the former solicitor general of Hong Kong, said he was particularly excited by China's progress in the functional foods sector, which has been spurred on by the nation's impending WTO membership.
"The Chinese State Drug Administration (SDA) has made tremendous strides in developing a regulatory framework and enforcement mechanism to prepare the Chinese pharmaceutical and Traditional Chinese Medicine industries for WTO entry," he asserted.