Business is often associated with reaping tangible and monetary gains – an attribute that becomes the benchmark for its success. However, there is more to business than tangible gains, as intangible gains are just as important to propel an entrepreneur to greater heights. Dato Sri Eugene Liu E Jen, Managing Director of Genopharma Sdn Bhd talks to Top 10 of Malaysia about how intangible gains help him drive his traditional medicine business to where it is now.
Dato Sri Eugene Liu E Jen carries an energetic persona that reverberates strongly onto anyone in his presence. Barely into his thirties, Liu is a dynamic young entrepreneur who is always on his feet and eager to play an active role, fuelled by pots of potent tea and a burning desire to contribute to a greater good.
Hailing from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur Liu is a true blue Malaysian believing in the spirit of giving and embracing differences. His parents, who were doctors themselves, are the strongest influence leading to his passion for medicine. “I actually wanted to become a doctor but later I learned that there is a lot more to medicine-making and so I focused on that field instead,” Liu shares.
In 2007, a few years after having graduated with a pharmacology degree and finished his housemanship at the Institute for Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur, Liu and his team made a foray into the bio-medicine business by acquiring Genopharma Sdn Bhd, a company established in 1994 and also an IP holder of various medicinal recipes. “It is essential for us to own the recipes before production, hence the move to acquire Genopharma’s intellectual property in 2007,” explains Liu.
Today, the company produces three ranges of medicines, namely biomedicine, herbal medicine and supplements. Initially, these were only sold to government hospitals and clinics but as the business grew, Genopharma is now selling its supplements directly to consumers via pharmacies and specialist clinics.
Genopharma has come a very long way particularly in the advocacy of traditional herbal medicine within the government health and medicine sector. “We were the pioneers who introduced the efficacy of herbal medicine to government hospitals, leading the Western-educated doctors in Malaysia to open up to them and prescribe them in their practice,” reveals Liu.
Genopharma also helped develop the curriculum for personnel training in the Traditional and Complementary Medicine department in the Ministry of Health, as well as advocating local universities to offer Bachelor Degree programmes in Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Bigger plans are in store for Genopharma, as Liu puts it. Genopharma is going well beyond Malaysian shores and expanding its wings deeper into the Asian region.
In 2014, the company secured a collaboration project with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn to co-own REJU, an herbal supplement brand catering to the Chinese market starting this year. Besides China, Genopharma is gearing up to penetrate the Singapore, Japanese and Indonesian markets this year.
“Traditional medicine is gaining popularity these days because more people are aware of its healing potential. People also choose to consume them because it is natural and safe even though it is consumed for a long period of time,” he shares of the industry. Liu’s yesteryears were full of lessons, particularly during the time when he was seriously ill in 2012 and that changed his thoughts and vision later in life.
“Ever since recovering from health complications with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, I see it as my life mission to God to introduce knowledge on TCM to the public so more people can achieve better health in life,” Liu says. That mind-set has helped drive his ambitions in life and business to this very day. He even embeds his values into his company, cultivating a culture of transparency and knowledge and idea sharing within the team.
Liu’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs out there is a wise one indeed. “Giver’s gain is a value that I strongly hold on to. In doing business, think about what you can contribute to help solve problems around you. Contribute your part generously, be honest and you’ll reap your rewards when you leave this world,” he shares.