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Key Insights to the World’s Second-Largest Healthcare Market

Findings from a healthcare report on China by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) revealed the latest trends in healthtech innovation, biopharmaceuticals, healthcare manufacturing, and COVID-19 vaccines.

Healthcare industry in China currently a leader in the world with double-digit growth. Its domestic healthcare market also has a large impact on the global healthcare market as the second largest healthcare market by an expenditure of USD 3.5 trillion in 2018. The report released by SCMP in August 2020 also followed the impact of COVID-19 on the structural shifts in the global supply chain for healthcare products. It also included an overview of COVID-19 vaccine developments together with leading healthcare innovators and industry leaders in China.

Using case studies, the report gave an in-dept overview of the latest developments in the business of China’s healthcare industry, it covered the opportunities, risks, and predictions for the industry. Created by SCMP Research, it takes advantage of SCMP’s wide reach in China to cover major sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and supplies manufacturing, service providers, and healthcare technology.

There were several key findings from the report, most of which highlight the current state of the various sectors of China’s healthcare industry as well as projections for the future, taking into account the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

First, the report showed the growth in massive investment in research and development as well as innovation. With a staggering forecasted growth of 23 percent compound annual rate until 2023, China’s combined pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical R&D spending will reach USD 49 million. This will make up 23 percent of global spending on drug discovery and testing.

Biopharmaceutical sales also saw a rapid growth in China, which has doubled since 2016 and are projected to reach almost USD 50 million by 2021.

Supplies for medical devices and equipment from China accounted for USD 10 billion make up to 2.6 percent of total exports in first quarter of 2020. The Chinese government’s Made in China 2025 strategic plan pushes for increased concentration on innovation to bring manufacturing up the value chain for high-tech medical devices.

China manufactures 40 percent of APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) used worldwide and is a leading supplier of basic chemicals to the global pharmaceutical industry, worth 384.3 billion yuan (USD 54 billion) in 2018. This shows the dominance of China in the global export of APIs.

Recent COVID-19 global pandemic prompted an increase in diagnoses and rise in prescription through online healthcare platforms. As one of the first few epicentres for the outbreak, health technology in China has taken the fast lane in adoption of accelerated alternatives to tradition processes in the healthcare industry. Artificial intelligence (AI) in CT scans, algorithms for COVID-19 detection in genomic sequencing, and AI-based research platforms for vaccines are just some of them.

SCMP’s Executive Editor Chow Chung-yan said, “The world is facing an acute healthcare challenge when people are living much longer, populations are rapidly ageing, and healthcare costs are rising. China aims to significantly improve its healthcare standards to be on par with those in developed nations by 2030. This will spur innovation in the sector, provide impetus for growth in the global healthcare industry, and catapult Chinese healthcare firms onto the international stage.”

Through this report SCMP hoped to target those interested to understand the complexity of China’s healthcare market and how it will impact global markets, these include academics, investors and key stakeholders. [APBN]