BMCP R&D Team
• Healthcare: Medical technology and equipment
• Life Sciences: Pharmaceutical (all sectors)
An Overview of China’s Healthcare & Lifesciences Sector
Medical Technology: Bridging Urban and Rural Disparities
Despite the swift growth and technological advancement of several Chinese companies, China is still widely reliant on foreign countries to supply medical devices, such as X-ray or ultrasound equipment.
Meanwhile, the government has pledged to improve healthcare facilities in rural areas by constructing or upgrading 3,700 community hospitals and 11,000 village clinics.
This emerging market provides opportunities rarely present in the developed world. China’s advanced telecommunications sector has facilitated the spread of mHealth, which utilises mobile phones and tablet computers to provide instant access to health services and information – something particularly useful for remote regions.
PwC reports that 59% of patients in emerging markets use at least one mHealth application or service, compared to 35% in the developed world.
Opportunities in the Pharmaceutical Sector
In the pharmaceutical sector, obstacles exist for new players. All drugs sold in China must be registered at the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) (previously named the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), its name was changed on 1st September 2018), and it can take years of testing before a foreign company can promote and sell its products in China.
However, there are increasing opportunities for foreign companies to collaborate with Chinese counterparts. The Chinese government is seeking to promote “indigenous innovation”: the encouragement of deals for foreign companies to transfer technology and information to Chinese companies; cooperation in Research and Development; and deals in technology transfer or ‘knowledge exchange’.
China is the second largest healthcare market in the world, with total expenditure expected to reach RMB 6223 billion by 2020 (20% year-on-year growth)
Per capita healthcare spending is still only (RMB 2710 per annum, compared to £ 28259 in the UK.
With an increasing ageing population, the number of people over 60 set to grow further from 241 million to 487 million by 2050.
There still exists regional disparities in terms of access to healthcare, enough doctors and nurses; and medical equipment supplies vary according to region, city tier, income and other demographic factors.
A series of policies have been established to reform and modernise healthcare in China, including Healthy China 2030. Healthcare also a key priority within the Five-Year Plan and key innovation / tech related policies.