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With the economic and social development, China has become the world's third largest medical device market following United States and Japan and will be the world's second largest market in 2-7 years. It’s projected to grow from USD 10 billion in 2004 to USD 20.5 billion in 2014-2015.
Medical Equipment Manufactrur in China and medical drugs are the two major means of health care, the ratio of sales of medical equipment and drug in developed countries is about 1:1, while in China it is only 1:10, so we can see that Chinese medical equipment market has great potential.
During 2004 - 2015, the annual growth rate of China’s medical equipment was 23%, and the imports rose from USD 3.1 billion to USD 4.3 billion with annual increase of 12%. Over 80% of high-tech medical equipment relies on imports. The major overseas players are the United States, European countries, and Japan. There are significant market opportunities for foreign companies, notably those in the mid-price segment.
The major buyers of the medical equipment are 21,852 hospitals, 80,500 urban and rural health centers, and 3,585 Centers of Disease Control (CDCs). The key customers of imported equipment are large hospitals, the vast majority of which are state-run. While there are 19,852 hospitals in China, only the most advanced ones (less than 1,000 Grade III and possibly some of the 5,000 Grade II) are able to afford foreign technology.
Averages of 522 new hospitals were built each year during 1990 - 2014. This number is expected to go up to 600 annually in the next 10 years. About 30% of total investment in these new hospitals is used for purchasing of medical equipment.
While Shanghai and Beijing are established markets, significant opportunities exist in rapidly growing second-tier cities. 19 of China’s rapidly growing second-tier cities together account for just 8% of China’s population, but 53% of China’s total volume of imports.
Top regional markets for medical devices are Tianjin, Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Chongqing - the first three ranking among the wealthiest second-tier cities in China. Hospitals in these cities have better financial resources, increased purchasing power and are more receptive to foreign products. To be specific, Shenzhen is a key market with its high GDP/capita and receptiveness to new technologies and foreign brands. Chongqing offers good mid-term potential for its large population and relatively low penetration of high-tech products at present.
By 2025, the number of people in China aged 65 or over is expected to top 198 million - the demand for medical devices such as pacemakers will soar.