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Marketing ploy proves that success is more than skin deep

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-05 10:15
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Xu Zhiwei, of Jiangsu Longliqi Group, says tourism is now a central part of the company's plans. [Photo provided to China Daily]

An international company that sells hand cream and snake-based drugs has come up with a fun-filled formula for customers.

Industrial tourism has helped many Chinese businesses sharply raise their corporate profile and the public awareness of their products and services.

At the same time, the educational role this kind of tourism plays strengthens their image as good corporate citizens.

One such firm is Jiangsu Longliqi Group, a bioscience company founded in 1986 that has been seamlessly fusing business with entertainment and education since the 1990s.

The company, in Shajiabang, a picturesque area of Jiangsu province, has become a household name and has enjoyed good market share in healthcare and skin products, such as hand cream, mosquito repellent and snake-based drugs.

"Soon after the company was founded, the pure snake powder Longliqi makes was selling briskly at pharmacies in Shanghai," says Xu Zhiwei, chairman of the board.

At the time, monthly sales could reach up to several million yuan, he says.

"We had customers in Shanghai who then came up with the idea of organizing visits to our factories."

In fact, the idea of bringing tourism and business together had already occurred to Xu after he inspected companies in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US, many with sightseeing tours in their factories that allowed visitors to see how the products were transformed from raw materials to finished products.

Ever the one to spot an opportunity and run with it, in 1993 Xu threw open the gate of Longliqi's snake-breeding farm to the public, and the sense of adventure and education about serpents that it offered soon turned it into a great success.

"From then on we began to pay attention to tourism," Xu says, and eventually tourists, who had originally been mainly from the nearby cities of Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi, were pouring in from all around the country.

In 1998 Longliqi built sightseeing walkways at its factory and continued to take tourism into account when it upgraded and expanded the plant in later years.

In 2004 Longliqi industry park became one of the first operations that the National Tourism Administration designated as industry tourism demonstration sites.

The company further demonstrated its faith in the prospects for industry tourism in 2015 when it spent nearly 200 million yuan ($31.6 million) building sightseeing walls, walkways and roads. Everything was planned and designed with aesthetics in mind.

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