Guizhentang, a manufacturer of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has again failed to complete plans for a public listing following an outcry from animal welfare groups over its practice of extracting bile from live bears. In December 2015, the company published a statement saying that it planned to raise funds by getting listed on the New Third Board, China’s over-the-counter board for non-publicly traded companies…Full Article: The Global Times July 2016

Key Points

  • As of 2016, according to China’s State Council, the country 68 farms (20,000 bears) that produce bear bile for the TCM industry. From 2013 to 2016, Guizhentang Pharmaceutical saw the number of bears under its control increase from 400 to 899. Bile is a digestive fluid produced by that liver and used within the TCM industry to treat gallstones, liver disease, and heart disease. The active ingredient in bear bile is Ursodesoxycholic acid. A German company, Ursofalk, has manufactured a synthesized version that has been approved for sale by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).
  • In July 2016, China’s State Council proposed shutting down the country’s TCM bear bile industry by 2035.
  • In 2012, Guizhentang canceled its IPO (initial public offering) after public backlash. In particular, the animal rights organizations of Ta Foundation, the Animals Asia Foundation, and World Animal Protection opposed the IPO.

ChinaAg Comments

  • Established in 2012 and headquartered in Beijing, The New Third Board, also known as The National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ), is a pilot trading platform for unlisted small/medium-sized Chinese companies and startups. As of May 2016, The New Third Board (aka The NEEQ market) had 7,357 companies listed with a total market cap of CNY 2.9 trillion (US$440 billion).
  • Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, Guizhentang Pharmaceutical produces and distributes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) products. Its primary TCM product is bear bile (both in powder and capsule form).

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