Jiangxi province has 41 advantageous types of Chinese patent medicines with sales more than 100 million yuan and 5 types more than 1 billion yuan, and has created 6 industrial clusters worth more than 10 billion yuan with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as the main business. In 2022, TCM industry in Jiangxi achieved the main business income of 41.768 billion yuan, ranking among the top five in China and the first in central China for many consecutive years.
Jiangxi has led the establishment of TCM industrialization cooperation center, deepened the cooperation with Hunan, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao in TCM, continued to promote the construction of overseas TCM centers, and promoted Jiangxi's TCM “going global”. The ranking of Jiangxi's TCM export rose from the 19th in 2021 to the 9th in 2022, and the growth rate ranked top two in China for two consecutive years.
A group of data has drawn the vigorous and upward development curves of TCM in Jiangxi.
Jiangxi is an important cradle of TCM culture and one of the seven national comprehensive reform pilot zones of TCM. In recent years, Jiangxi has vigorously strived to build a province with a Strong TCM Industry, and it has carried forward the essence of tradition while pursuing innovation, focused on institutional and mechanism innovation, integrated development of a complete industrial chain, and accelerated the construction of innovation platforms. The scale of TCM industry in Jiangxi continues to grow, and the high-quality development of TCM has taken solid steps to promote it to the world.
Inheriting Ancient Methods of Processing and Bringing Vitality to Modern Times
“Apricot Trees （Medicine） Culture”, “Xujiang Medicine”, “Zhangshu Medicine Trade Association”, “Jianchang Medicine Trade Association” …… In Jiangxi, the profound cultural and historical heritage of TCM has a far-reaching influence on the development of traditional Chinese medicine in modern times.（or modern TCM）
Herbs are plants which grow in nature, and the secret of turning “plants” into “medicine” lies in processing, which is deeply related to efficacy. “Zhangshu Medicine Trade Association” and “Jianchang Medicine Trade Association” with unique characteristics are two main schools of TCM processing in China. “When properly cut, areca seeds lose their edges; white peonies are light enough to fly in the sky; the orange peels are as thin as slim lines, and the orange fruits are like thin phoenix eyes……” The unique work of cutting technology enjoys a high reputation in China.
“Preserving, innovating, and developing TCM” is the inevitable requirement for the development and the modernization of TCM in Jiangxi. In the past two years, in terms of TCM processing technology inheritance, Jiangxi has actively promoted the revision of the Processing Standards of Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction Pieces in Jiangxi Province, which includes the standards of some unique processing techniques such as the methods of pottery heating. At the same time, Jiangxi University of Chinese Medicine and its affiliated hospital are selected to carry out the construction of TCM processing technology inheritance base, exploring and inheriting Chinese materia medica processing theory and technology.
We should carry forward the essence of tradition while pursuing innovation. After 4 years of research, Jiangxi has led the implementation of the national key research and development plan“Inheritance, process technology innovation and industrial transformation of 10 traditional processing methods”, which has passed the comprehensive performance evaluation by the project management professional organization of Ministry of Science and Technology and is rated as excellent level. On the basis of inheriting the essence of ancient processing methods, this project has innovated traditional processing technologies and processed such as grinding in water, dry distillation and pottery heating, and has created 8 sets of modern automated production equipment, which helps to realize the scientific, standardized and transformed application of traditional processing technologies.
In Jiangxi University of Chinese Medicine, the Chinese materia medica processing research team follows the ancient method, explores the principles, innovates the process, develops the equipment, resuscitates the ancient processing process. It has built the only automatic production line, which combines the natural indigo processing with temperature control soaking, indigo and foam separation. And through the smokeless, clean and automatic collection of closed industrial distillation equipment, the yield of fresh bamboo juice has increased from 5% to about 20%, which has taken an important step in promoting the modernization of processing of Chinese medicine.
The land of Jiangxi is fragrant with medicinal flowers and herbs. Jiangxi's exploration and practices in the inheritance and innovation of traditional Chinese medicine has made the ancient method processing technology resuscitate on the modern production line and glow with vitality in the new era.
Building Strong Platform Carriers to Enhance Innovation Capabilities
As one of the seven national comprehensive reform pilot zones of TCM, Jiangxi strives to play a leading role in innovation and continuously optimizes TCM research policies and measures. It has successively issued policy documents such as Jiangxi Action Plan for Promoting the Inheritance, Innovation and Development of TCM and The Action Plan on Science and Technology to Support the Inheritance, Innovation and Development of TCM in Jiangxi Province （2021- 2025） and established a scientific and technological support system for the inheritance and innovation of TCM. Last year, the province formulated Administrative Measures of Jiangxi Province for Science and Technology + TCM Joint Plan Projects （Trial） to explore the establishment of a joint project model and encourage universities, scientific research institutes, medical institutions, and enterprises to carry out scientific research to tackle key problems.
In 2021, the National Engineering Research Center for Manufacturing Technology of Traditional Chinese Medicine Solid Preparation was included in the new sequence of national engineering research centers; in 2022, the National TCM Advanced Manufacturing and Modern TCM Industry Innovation Center, led by Ganjiang New District and jointly created by Jiangxi University of Chinese Medicine and other units, was approved. With a number of national-level platforms successively approved, Jiangxi’s TCM innovation is full of vitality. At present, a State Key Laboratory of TCM in Jiangxi has been formally approved, 9 national-level scientific and technological innovation platforms, 86 provincial-level or minister-level scientific and technological support platforms and 3 academician workstations have been set up here.
On November 16, 2022, the Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry Chain Collaborative Development Alliance was launched. Jiangxi took the lead in establishing a TCM Industrialization Cooperation Center to explore the cooperative innovation model of TCM industry with R&D in the Greater Bay Area, industrialization in Hunan, Jiangxi and Guangdong, and market across the globe. By accelerating the flow of high-quality TCM resources in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the model will promote the TCM industry to better “going global” and “bringing in”.
Talent is the foundation of innovation. In order to create a more supportive talent team, Jiangxi has actively built a talent “reservoir” and implemented a multi-pronged approach to introducing, educating, recruiting and retaining TCM talents. In August 2022, the province issued the Implementation Plan of Jiangxi Province on Strengthening the Work of TCM Talents in the New Era, which reformed the evaluation of professional titles in traditional Chinese medicine, got rid of evaluation methods that only emphasized the number of papers and academic backgrounds, and maximized the relaxation of promotion conditions for grassroots TCM talents. In June this year, the Jiangxi Provincial Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine issued the Action Plan of Jiangxi Province for TCM Talent Development (2023-2025) to promote the flow of TCM talents to the grassroots and establish a long-term incentive mechanism to attract and stabilize the TCM talent team.
To promote the development of the TCM comprehensive reform demonstration zone, Jiangxi is actively building a TCM highland for innovative research & development, incubation & acceleration, talent gathering, and planting & cultivation. It is actively connecting with national high-level scientific research institutions and has promoted the launch of branches of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Jiangxi one after another. By continuously improving the level of innovation, Jiangxi is injecting intellectual impetus into the development of the TCM industry.
Building a Complete Industrial Chain Network for Integrated and Collaborative Development
From Small Roots, a Big Industry Grows. Kudzu, a major variety of traditional Chinese medicine with both medicinal and culinary uses, has had its comprehensive value thoroughly explored and developed in Jiangxi. It serves medicinal, culinary, and wellness purposes, achieving industrialization. In 2022, the standardized planting area of Kudzu across the province reached 30,000 mu（≈20km2）, with a production volume of 30,000 tons and a total output value of 1.2 billion yuan.
Jiangxi possesses 3,043 varieties of traditional Chinese medicinal resources, and the development of Kudzu is just one aspect of the province's traditional Chinese medicine industry. In recent years, Jiangxi has actively developed three major advantageous production areas: authentic medicinal herbs in central Jiangxi, distinctive medicinal herbs in eastern Jiangxi, and medicinal and edible herbs around Poyang Lake. We have established 47 provincial-level forest medicinal herb technology demonstration bases and constructed almost 100 large-scale traditional Chinese medicinal herb gardens covering thousands of mu. To enhance the quality of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, Jiangxi has focused on building 54 “Customized Medicinal Gardens” centered around the “Top Ten TCM Variety in Jiangxi” and “Top Ten Edible Homologous TCM Variety in Jiangxi”, leading the way in standardized herb cultivation. Simultaneously, a traceability system has been implemented for 35 key traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, ensuring a high-quality supply chain from herb gardens to processing factories.
In the development of the traditional Chinese medicine industry, Jiangxi is not only vertically exploring and developing but also horizontally crossing boundaries and creating new ventures. Focused on the health demand of the public, Jiangxi is vigorously developing the traditional Chinese medicine health service industry. We are placing particular emphasis on building a brand for heat-sensitive moxibustion, actively implementing “Traditional Chinese Medicine + Tourism”， promoting the integrated development of medicine, healthcare, wellness, and tourism. This effort aims to construct a distinctive healthcare and tourism industry system with Jiangxi characteristics. Currently, Jiangxi has planned and constructed 4 regional heat-sensitive moxibustion diagnostic and treatment centers and 21 grassroots comprehensive service areas (heat-sensitive moxibustion towns). We have also nurtured 35 enterprises engaged in processing wormwood and heat-sensitive moxibustion-related products.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the highlight industries in Jiangxi. In recent years, Jiangxi has prioritized the TCM industry as a key driver for promoting the high-quality development of manufacturing. Successively, policies such as the Jiangxi Implementation Plan for Building a National Demonstration Zone for the High-Quality Development of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry and the Jiangxi Province Manufacturing Key Industry Chain Modernization “1269” Action Plan （2023-2026） have been introduced. These policies aim to create a favorable environment for industry development and facilitate the growth and strength of leading TCM enterprises within the province. Currently, the number of large-scale TCM enterprises in Jiangxi has exceeded 160, including notable names such as Jiming Kexin Group, Qingfeng Medical Group, and Renhe Group, all of which have made it onto the list of the top 100 pharmaceutical manufacturing enterprises in 2022.
At present, Jiangxi has basically formed a complete industrial chain integrating the upstream cultivation and processing of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, the midstream extraction and production of traditional Chinese medicines, and the downstream circulation of pharmaceuticals and TCM services. We boast 41 exemplary TCM varieties with a cumulative sales exceeding one billion yuan. Additionally, there are six medical industry clusters primarily focused on traditional Chinese medicine, including Zhangshu Medicine, Yuanzhou Medicine, Ganzhou Zhanggong Biopharmaceuticals, and Nanchang Xiaolan Medicine. Among these, the Zhangshu Medicine industry cluster has achieved a remarkable annual revenue surpassing 10 billion yuan. Undoubtedly, traditional Chinese medicine has become a shining business card for Jiangxi Province in this new era.