Few market is harder to comprehend than China's medical device market. In 2012, China's output of medical device was $24 billion, exported $17.6 billion to other countries and imported $12.5 billion. The toal value of medical device consumption in China ended up $18.9 billion, out of which 67% was imported in 2012.
China has as many as 16,000 medical device manufacturers! The top 200 of them comprise less than 20% of China's total production in 2012. Unlike some other sectors in China, medical device market has limited number of State-Owned-Enterprises. On the other hand, it is dominated by foreign manufacturers, public or private, which sell in China either through exporting to China or through establishing Wholly Owned Enterprises or Joint Ventures in China.
The U.S., Japan and Germany have been the top three exporters to China, among which the U.S. has been in the 1st places for years. U.S. export of medical device to China is approaching $4 billion.
Most of Chinese exports are low-end products or components for western OEMs. Lagging behind foreign competitors in brand awareness and technology, in general, Chinese manufacturers find it much harder to be accepted by customers in China than in foreign countries, even some of them offer competitive products and technologies. Mindray, for example, has been making successful inroads in developed markets such as the U.S. through M&A, however, their revenues from China have been shrinking, which manifests both the challenges Mindray is facing in its home market and the management's preference for foreign markets.
The following is a presentation of China's medical device market:
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