mindray.jpgChina's
Mindray Medical International may not ring too many bells outside the
rarefied world of the medical devices industry. But its just one more
example of how China's local heroes are making increasingly bold moves
on the world stage.

In this case, Mindray — great name, by the
way — wants to tap western investors' seemingly insatiable appetite
for novel ways to play China's new economy by filing for an IPO on the NYSE to raise up to $276m.

Mindray,
a leader in patient monitoring equipment, had revenues of more than 1bn
yuan in 2005 and it has been growing at an annual rate of over 50%.

It
sells mostly to smaller hospitals as the larger wealthier hospitals in
China depend heavily on imported western equipment from the likes of GE
Healthcare and Philips Medical Systems. Indeed, imports account for 85%
to 90% of the China's medical equipment market, according to this syndicated WSJ article.

While
China offers lots of growth potential — the IPO will help fund a move
to bigger new premises — Mindray is also looking to expand
internationally. Sales outside of China accounted for just 25% of
revenues in 2003 but their share had risen to 43% by mid-2006.

Like
a lot of Chinese companies competing internationally in hi-tech
sectors, Mindray suffers from the western prejudice that its products
while competent and cheap, are hardly cutting edge and their appeal is
thus limited to China and perhaps other emerging markets.

But they used to say the same thing about Huawei, the telecoms equipment vendor. Its overseas sales recently eclipsed those from inside China , according to the Financial Times, and it is now making inroads into Europe and the North America — see this EngagingChina story.

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