China is the place to be in you want to a player in Asia's medical devices business, according to market research firm Kalorama Information. China's medical devices market is expected to grow at nearly 24% a year over the next few years, driven by strong demand for high-quality, high-technology medical devices and for products that comply with international standards.
By contrast, Japan, currently the largest market in Asia, is also the most saturated. Growth is expected to average just 1.5%, according to a new Kalorama report on the medical devices market in five key Asian countries.
Although rising income and growing health consciousness will increase market growth for China and India, in the mature markets of Australia, South Korea and Japan, demand is being driven by their ageing populations.
Kalorama predicts that the Asian medical device market is expected to grow from $30bn in 2006 to $43bn by 2010.
Although Asia Pacific's healthcare market is smaller than that of the two other major geographic regions of the US and Europe, continued growth makes it an important ancillary market for makers of medical devices.
All five countries studied depend heavily on foreign medical technology, with some importing as much as 90% of the medical devices consumed in their countries, especially complex diagnostic and imaging equipment. Kalorama Information expects this practice to remain a primary factor for growth over the next four years.
In China, imports account for around 70% of the country's medical device market and the share could drop further once home-grown players like US-listed Mindray Medical International start to flex their muscles. More on Mindray in this earlier EngagingChina story.
Elsewhere on the medical devices front:
AIM-listed Synergy Healthcare, which provides outsourced healthcare support services, is to build a £10m medical device sterilisation facility in Suzhou, China. The 33,000 sq metre site will be one of the Company's largest facilities and the UK firm is in discussions with a number of global medical device manufacturers who are looking to increase their investment in China both for export and to access the growing domestic market.