Medtronic opens R&D center in Shanghai

Joining a who's-who of big-time devicemakers, Medtronic ($MDT) cut the ribbon on an R&D shop in China, opening the Shanghai Innovation Center at its headquarters in the country.

It's the company's first step toward local product development and commercialization in China, and Medtronic plans to fold the center into its global R&D operations, partnering with Chinese physicians to find solutions suited for the country's patients.

CEO Omar Ishrak said opening a research center in China will help bolster Medtronic's presence in the country and add new talent and expertise to its global operations. "We have already accelerated our efforts to expand in emerging markets, including China, through additional investments in people and infrastructure, and the Shanghai Innovation Center is an example of our work to transform ourselves into a truly global organization," Ishrak said in a statement.

Medtronic is predicting big growth in the Chinese device market in the coming years, and the company plans to hire and train another 1,000 employees in the country over the next 5 years, placing hundreds of them in the new Shanghai R&D center. Furthermore, Medtronic has its eye on a few M&A candidates in the country, Simon Li, president of company's Chinese unit, said this month.

And Medtronic is hardly alone in its efforts to get local R&D in China. Covidien ($COV) unveiled its $45 million facility in Shanghai this month, and GE Healthcare ($GE) opened an $80 million shop in Chengdu in May. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has had an R&D setup in China since 2011, opening a $115 million innovation center in Suzhou last summer.

- read Medtronic's release

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