Traditional Chinese Medicine is an attractive field for Western pharmaceutical companies.

Francesca Spigarelli and Andrea Filippetti address in their chapter “Grasping Knowledge in Emerging Markets: Is This the Case of Western Pharmaceutical Companies in China?” in the book “China´s Influence on Non-Trade Concerns in International Economic Law”, among other things, also the potential of Traditional Chinese Medicine on global pharmaceutical markets. As the authors make clear, the opening and rapid growth of Chinese economy had a positive impact also on the Chinese pharmaceutical sector. The strength of the Chinese pharmaceutical sector underscores also the fact that its growth is owed not only to the activities of Western companies, profiting from booming economy, big market, cheap labour and lenient environmental standards, but also to the presence of indigenous pharmaceutical companies with firm market positions, which have established themselves in the course of the years. The role of Traditional Chinese Medicine on the pharmaceutical market is rather peculiar. On the one hand, Traditional Chinese Medicine keeps attracting large numbers of customers within China and increasingly also abroad. On the other hand, Western medicines are gradually winning the hearts of more and more customers within China. Hence, there are reasons for Chinese companies active in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine to attempt to establish their presence in international markets. Even though Chinese companies retain their dominance in the market with Traditional Chinese Medicine within the country, they are still failing to leave a significant trace in international markets. As the statistics concerning patents applications illustrate, Chinese companies are in a position to compete with, or even surpass, the Western companies. For this reason, it might be argued that there is the time for Chinese companies to claim a position on international markets corresponding to their potential.