#Asia Herbal Biotech brings together ancient herb and modern technology

Power of cordyceps: (From Left) Gan, Goh and Sunny with some of AHB’s products.

MULTI-level marketing (MLM) or direct selling has been established in Malaysia for more than 30 years, making it a mature industry with a flourishing pool of talent to propel its success.

Malaysia is ranked 11th worldwide in terms of growth in the direct selling industry, and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry expects it to contribute some RM140.5bil to the nation’s economy by 2020.

While the public may be familiar with some big names in the market, e-commerce MLM company Asia Herbal Biotech (AHB) has been going strong since it started in June 2010 due to customer testimonials for what they said were “miracle cures”.

Although the company itself does not make such claims, they rely on these testimonials for the products to sell themselves.

This is when direct selling and natural herbal health tonics work in sync — the marketing is already done through customer testimonials.

“There are positive and negative MLMs and unfortunately, the industry has received mostly negative feedback from unscrupulous companies who focus primarily on making money.

“We genuinely care about the health of our users and won’t push our goods unnecessarily just to sell them. ,” said AHB executive chairman Tan Sri Jason Goh.

The company is also present in Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Bangladesh. It is looking to expand to the Philippines and Thailand in 2014 and 2015 and continue to expand in the region beyond that.

According to AHB, its turnover for the first half of this year hit RM14mil and is expected to hit RM30mil at the end of the year from sales in Malaysia alone.

This figure will continue to be its annual growth target.

Founder and chief executive officer Rick Gan said that there were currently 50,000 registered members and its top distributor earned RM4.1mil last year.

AHB has partnered with three local companies to manufacture its products. The manufacturing plants are based in Kepong, Bukit Tinggi and Ipoh. It plans to transfer the technology by setting up a plant in Bukit Tinggi, Klang in 2015 as part of its expansion plans.

Not bad for a business that started with a capital of RM5mil and then 27% of it was soon acquired by Resintech Bhd, a polyethylene and uPVC company.

AHB’s unique selling point is its tissue-cultured Cordyceps sinensis which is a type of plant that can only be found in the China region.

It is said to be a miracle, cure-all panacea that was once exclusive to the ancient Chinese emperors.

This is because it can only be harvested in its natural habitat at a high altitude.

Now, with modern medicine and biotechnology, this herb is accessible to everyone in the world Goh explained.

“We source for our raw materials and formulate the products on our own. We are collaborating with China’s Yunnan University to develop our cordyceps.

“Every mixture is sent to the university to ensure that that there are no external particles that will affect the formulation. Once they’ve given us the green light, we will launch the product,” Gan said.

Goh said that the company was also aiming to play a fundamental role in the government’s efforts to grow the biotechnology industry.

“We only have nine types of products. When compared to other MLM health companies, our range is quite limited but we keep it that way so it’s easier for us to monitor quality and consistency,” said AHB corporate director Datuk Sunny Goh.

Gan, Goh and Sunny are also consumers of AHB products.

“We are not selling things that we don’t know about because you can’t market a product if you don’t experience it yourself,” said Sunny.

AHB adheres to good manufacturing practice (GMP) which is a worldwide regulatory standard to certify that products have been produced under regulated conditions.

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