Chinese medical halls were established during the Sung Dynasty, back in the 13th century. The oldest Chinese medical hall still in existence today, Tong Ren Tang was founded in 1669 and is located in Beijing, China.
In South East Asia, the oldest Chinese Medical Hall is Yin Oi Tong, established in 1796. Yin Oi Tong was founded by Koo Suk Chuan, a medicine-peddler immigrant from Canton. Like many young people, Koo dropped out of school in his early teens to provide for his family and travelled to Penang with the early wave of Mei Xian immigrants.
In 1885, Suk Chuan's descendants moved the Medical Hall from the small shop they had been trading on Pitt Street and into Lebuh Penang and there it served the local community for 124 years. They expanded their space to a Retail side - located where Ramani Market is now and maintained the wholesale side at 82a-c Lebuh Penang. Yin Oi Tong pre-war period spanned across 7 shophouses along Lebuh Penang and Lebuh Cina.