GK Bio plans expansion in neighbouring SEA countries with fungi, probiotics launch

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

GK Bio's Lactobacillus plantarum GKM3 200mg. © GK Bio International
GK Bio's Lactobacillus plantarum GKM3 200mg. © GK Bio International

Related tags GK Bio lion's mane Tiger milk mushroom

Malaysia headquartered GK Bio International, which specialises in fungi and probiotics supplements, says it is expanding into the neighbouring South East Asian countries, including Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

GK Bio International was formed via a joint venture between Taiwanese companies All Cosmos Industry and Grape King Bio and began operations in March 2020.

Tapping on its parent companies’ expertise in probiotics and fungi, GK Bio International is known for its probiotics that offer beauty-from-within, weight management, and gut health benefits, as well as the fungi-based supplements made from tiger milk mushroom, Cordyceps Cicadae,​ and Antrodia cinnamomea.

Its Cordyceps Cicadae, ​for example, is designed to help relieve tired eyes, while its tiger milk mushroom product claims to be traditionally used for the relief of cough, cold, and sinusitis.

The raw materials, such as probiotics and fungi, are mostly sourced from its parent companies and the final products are made in Malaysia.

Currently, the products could be bought from Malaysia via pharmacy chains Watsons, Alpro, and clinics and has even attracted buyers across the causeway from Singapore.

“We are planning to introduce the full range of products that we have in Malaysia to Singapore as well, because there are Singaporeans who are purchasing our products from Malaysia via our partnering retailers.

“For our Singaporean consumers, the more popular products would be our probiotics for beauty, our Tiger Milk Mushroom and Cordyceps Cicadae fungi supplements,” ​said general manager Howard Heng.

The company hopes to provide greater accessibility and convenience to Singapore’s consumers with the expansion. 

Still, there is still a lot of consumer education required in the SEA markets when it comes to their understanding of probiotics and fungi supplements, especially on the product mechanisms, he said.

The company sees consumer education as their mission for expanding into SEA and was also something which it focused on when it first began in Malaysia.

For example, Heng explained that tiger milk mushroom was linked to respiratory and lung health benefits, while Antrodia cinnamomea ​was known for its liver health benefits, and Cordyceps Cicadae​ for eye pressure related issues.

A RCT published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, ​for instance, has showed that Antrodia cinnamomea ​mycelia extract supplementation could improve liver health among Japanese adults who were regular drinkers. 

Another clinical study published in the Journal of Functional Foods​ showed that supplementation of Cordyceps Cicadae ​mycelium could significantly reduce intraocular pressure or eye pressure, but women had a more significant reduction as compared to men.

Also, the probiotics, for instance, are made via liquid fermentation, with multiple encapsulation layers that help to make them heat and pH stable.

Elsewhere in Vietnam, the company is planning to introduce its probiotics for gut health and tiger milk mushroom – the latter of which is seen as an option in meeting the market gap for respiratory health supplements​.

Asked the timeline for market entry, Heng said that this would be dependent on the completion of product registration.

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