SINGAPORE - Unlike most other Singapore companies, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) specialist Eu Yan Sang's journey of going international had already commenced more than 100 years ago.
The business began in Perak, Malaysia, in 1879, when founder Eu Kong introduced traditional Chinese herbal remedies to nurse the health of tin mine workers who depended on opium to relieve the pain from hard working and living conditions.
He opened a medicine shop called "Yan Sang", which means "caring for mankind".
Eu Yan Sang International chief executive Richard Eu, the founder's great-grandson, explained that the pioneers of the company were already setting up overseas operations very early on.
He said: "It was way before my time. We already had operations in four places back in the 1910s and 1920s. The job was already done for me. I didn't have to do anything in order to trail-blaze and open those particular markets."
As early as 1909, Eu Yan Sang set up its first shop in Hong Kong, in the Central area.
The following year, its first Singapore store was opened in South Bridge Road.
What started with a handful of shops in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and southern China has since grown into a network of around 300 retail stores in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, China and Australia.
That is not all.