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Hangzhou Fanghuichuntang Pharmacy

  

Standing on the antique Hefang Street, Hangzhou, Fanghuichuntang is a flagship pharmacy of Hangzhou’s traditional Chinese medicine industry. It was founded in 1649 by Fang Qingyi, a much-acclaimed local clinic doctor. An accomplished pediatrician born to a long line of pharmacists, Fang was said to have successfully cured the baby grandson of the local county magistrate, who awarded the pill the title of “Xiaoer Huichun Wan” (literally meaning “a pill that is sure to bring infants back to life”). Hence the name of the pharmacy the Fangs later founded.

Hangzhou Fanghuichuntang Pharmacy, China Time-Honored Brands
The names of Chinese traditional pharmacies usually follow the same structure. Fang-Huichun-Tang: Fang 方 – surname of the owner; Huichun 回春– meaning “bring … back to life”, named after the trademark medicine of the pharmacy; Tang 堂 – “Hall”, as Chinese pharmacies are customarily named


Having built up a reverberating reputation in treating infant patients, Fang expanded the clinic into a pharmacy, sited on Hefang Street, a commercial center of ancient Hangzhou. Fanghuichuntang managed to flourish amid competition, and by the end of the 19th century, it had developed into one of the top six pharmacies that held controlling stakes on Hangzhou’s medicines market.


Turbulences of the first half of the 20th century plunged most trades into depression. Though having survived the wars (both against Japanese Invasion and the Civil War), Fanghuichuntang, along with most other pharmacies, merely struggled to keep operating until being nationalized in 1956. It was not until 45 years later that it was reorganized and reopened under its previous brand name.


The business philosophy of Fanghuichuntang is summarized in the Fangs’ ancestral doctrine, reading “it is all right to make a profit, but despicable to sell under-quality products”.

 

Hangzhou Fanghuichuntang Pharmacy, China Time-Honored Brands

The couplet hanging in the central hall of Fanghuichuntang, reading "to develop eight thousand drug recipes to help the people's health, and to gather highly-skilled doctors to bring patients back to life", which suggests its "ambitious" good wishes.

Hangzhou Fanghuichuntang Pharmacy, China Time-Honored Brands

At Laba Festival, Hangzhou citizens queue up for the "Laba Porridge" distributed for free by Fanghuichuntang.

 

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