China medical device market to top Japan to claim No. 2 spot globally

SINGAPORE--China's market for medical devices is expected to pass Japan's this year to become the world's second-largest, topped only by the United States. A consulting firm forecast China's market would pass the $55 billion mark this year, nearly double that of just two years ago.

Access China Management Consulting gave much of the credit to the government's nearly year-old move to reduce some of the roadblocks that delayed marketing approvals for medical devices. The Chinese Special Examination and Approval Procedures for Innovative Medical Devices that took effect on March 1 was intended to fast-track foreign applications.

China's healthcare market has been on a roll since the 1990s, averaging an annual growth rate of 16 percent, but the medical device segment did not begin its "dynamical growth" until the 2000s. Half of the market relies on imports, led by MRI machines and CAT scans.

Since GE ($GE), Philips ($PHG) and Siemens dominate the market for those devices, they could stand to benefit the most from the spurt. But a summary of the report noted China's market "is attracting more and more overseas medical device manufacturers and producers."

But China has also aggressively looked to promote local medical device equipment for its fast-growing network of public and private hospitals as concerns grow over costs and limited domestic competition to imported high-end diagnostics.

The aging residents of a country that claims a fifth of the world's population have helped to stimulate imports for diagnoses, therapy, care and rehabilitation, led by "high-tech and high-valued" devices, the report said.

- find the report here

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