China's Emerging Pharmaceutical Powerhouse

Li Yongzhong is President of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals, one of the top-3 pharmaceutical companies in China. Mr. Li manages a business revenue of $28 billion USD.

Originally, a state-owned drug distributor, Shanghai Pharmaceuticals (SPH) was among the first companies to list in mainland China in 2011. Today, it is dual listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Mr. Li's strategic approach has led to industry-wide reforms and under his management for over 20 years, SPH has grown from $1.5bn in revenue to nearly $30bn this year, now ranking 7th among global pharmaceutical companies and employing over 20,000 people.

In this rare pre-recorded interview, we ask Mr. Li about the company’s global ambitions and its growing appetite to innovate. We ask him to share his unique perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in today’s heated pharmaceutical industry and delve into his personal journey of transforming a Chinese state-owned enterprise into an internationally respected pharmaceutical powerhouse.

The interview will be conducted by Prof. Eric Bouteiller, Professor of Management at CEIBS and co-founder of Jumo, which advises companies and organisations in their development in China and Asia. Since 2007 he's also a French Trade Advisor. With over 30 years of academic and professional experience, Prof. Bouteiller is one of the most seasoned experts, when it comes to business in Asia. 

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Li Yongzhong
President of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals

Li Yongzhong is the president of Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holdings, one of China's three largest pharmaceutical companies, where he manages a business turnover of 28 billion US dollars. His forward-thinking strategic planning has enabled the industry to develop in the wake of China's pharmaceutical reform. In 2020, he was awarded the title of Leading Talent in Shanghai. The leading talents who receive this honour not only represent their leadership in the industry, but also strengthen the sector's social impact.

Under Mr Li's leadership of more than 20 years, Shanghai Pharmaceutical Holdings has grown from less than RMB 10 billion in annual revenue to nearly RMB 200 billion this year. Ranking seventh among global pharmaceutical companies, the corporation currently employs more than 20,000 people. In 2018, Shanghai Pharmaceutical Holdings accelerated its global footprint by acquiring the entire business of foreign-funded Cardinal China. Upon completion of the acquisition, Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holdings rose to second place in the revenue scale of Chinese distributors, and the number of general agents for imported pharmaceuticals ranked first in the industry, becoming China's largest agent and distributor of imported pharmaceuticals and forming a brand that represents unified, integrated operation, excellent service and a leading international pharmaceutical supply chain service provider.

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