The Tiger is not just ready to run in India, it is ready to leap, says AK Han, Executive Director with Haw Par Corporation, maker of the 100-year plus iconic brand Tiger Balm.

Han was referring to a contemporary neck and shoulder rub that the Singapore-based company was rolling out in India with an eye on the smartphone obsessed consumers. India has a young, affluent and digitally savvy population, he said referring to the 300 million odd smart-phone users in India. And with new gadgets come the consequent lifestyle problems, says Han defining the age-old product’s new customer base that has problems like the text neck, gamer neck or iPosture.

But Tiger Balm is not a new name in India and Han quips that he too is an “old hand” when it comes to this market. And that makes him familiar with the popularity of the product reflected in its counterfeits that sell with similar sounding names like “Flying Tiger”, “Sleeping Tiger” and so on. There will always be counterfeits, Han told BusinessLine , adding it is a good product, which is why it is imitated. “It is part and parcel of life,” he says, and such imitation products were available in many markets where they sell across the world.

Responding to a query on the attacks made on traditional products by a section of modern medicine representatives, Han said that Tiger Balm has not had to face them because their phyto or plant-based ingredients in an ayurvedic formulation have been proved according to the Pharmacopoeia. With clear regulatory approvals, it sells in 100 countries including the Us, Norway and New Zealand.

Trading channel

The red and white versions of Tiger balm have been available in India through local trading channels and an earlier alliance with Elder Pharmaceuticals. But for the last one year Haw Par has an alliance with Alkem through which its products will be made available.

Mukesh Tiwary, Alkem Healthcare’s Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) expects to make the ₹80 crore Tiger Balm brand a ₹200 crore brand in two years.

With only a representative and marketing office in India, Han says they have no plan to have a larger office or manufacturing here because of “complicated” policies and a “scary” tax system.

The product is contract manufactured by Makson in Hyderabad and the efficacy of the product is not sacrificed, says Han.