GE Healthcare will team with an Indian R&D center to concoct new med tech

GE Healthcare ($GE) will work with a technology R&D center in India to develop new med tech products. The Economic Times of India and others reported on the news.

Right now the investment isn't very large. GE Healthcare said it inked a three-year research and development deal with the Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre in Chennai to concoct devices and treatment tools in areas including child healthcare, care for mothers, cardiology and cancer.

GE Healthcare said it will issue a small grant to fuel that R&D work, according to the story.

This small investment could reap enormous dividends down the line. The world's med tech companies are searching for ways to grow their share of emerging markets in China, India and elsewhere. Both countries have a large, relatively untapped patient and customer base that will grow as each nation continues to modernize and expand its healthcare system.

Companies are finding that they're more likely to succeed with products developed locally in their target markets. And so GE Healthcare is investing in local development with an eye toward that goal. Local researchers will come up with products that meet the needs of India's mainstream population, which can, in turn, be manufactured locally for Indian use. That product awareness will also build brand familiarity and create demand for the company's other med tech equipment and services used more widely in the developed world.

This also fits into GE Healthcare's previously stated India strategy. In late December 2013, the company said it will unveil 100 new products over the next few years to address India's unmet medical needs in areas including medical diagnostics, patient monitoring and magnetic resonance imaging, geared specifically to the domestic market.

Covidien ($COV), Medtronic ($MDT), Boston Scientific ($BSX) and others have all targeted India as an emerging market ripe for expansion. But they aren't all approaching their entry into India in quite the same way.

Covidien, for example, is focusing more of its investment energies right now on training. The global med tech company, headquartered in Ireland, recently opened a medical training and education center in Mumbai, India, its third in emerging markets. It is designed to train medical professionals in areas including vascular disease, cancer and metabolic disorders, and show how Covidien's products can help treat these conditions.

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