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Medical device sector bolstered by innovation

VisitCount:605 UpdateTime:2023/2/13

With the healthcare insurance reform, market access optimization and favorable government policies launched, China's medical device sector is expected to continue innovative development this year, said a recent report.

The report, issued by Chongqing-based healthcare service provider VBData.cn, said that in 2022, the independent research and development capabilities of domestic medical device enterprises have been continuously enhanced, innovation achievements have taken root. There is constant competition in terms of underlying technology and innovation, and the momentum is expected to continue this year.

Data from market research firm Frost & Sullivan showed that in 2021, China's medical device market totaled 843.8 billion yuan ($124.5 billion). With no specific figure out yet, it was estimated that the market will reach 957.3 billion yuan in 2022, growing 13.5 percent year-on-year.

With improvement in the ability to pay for medical care, the support of the government in the healthcare industry, and the industrial upgrading brought by technological development, the sector is expected to embrace rapid development in the future, said Frost & Sullivan.

In terms of popular areas of medical device innovation, according to the report from VBData.cn, the artificial heart, which holds over 10 billion yuan in market value, ranks on the list. As a result, many domestic enterprises have been making efforts in the R&D of structural heart disease and have developed a series of innovative products.

Surgical robots are another popular track. While investment in healthcare declined in 2022, surgical robots were still an investment hot spot, with 24 investments completed, while Shenzhen Edge Medical Co Ltd and Harbin Sagebot Intelligent Medical Equipment Co Ltd filing IPOs.

"Within years of development, domestic enterprises are actively exploring new commercialization paths for surgical robots. In the past, domestic companies relied on imitating existing imported products. Now they try to solve clinical needs with innovative technologies," said Yang Xue, a medical device analyst at VBData.cn.

The rehabilitation sector is also popular. "Currently, China's rehabilitation assistance device market has entered a new round of the development stage. The intelligent trend is leading the development of the market and the market development has transformed from policy-driven to market-driven," Yang said.

Enterprises have been placing great emphasis on innovation. For example, Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based medical device provider Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co Ltd, as a leading industry player, sticks to investing 10 percent of its sales revenue into R&D every year. In 2021, its R&D investment reached 2.7 billion yuan. Currently, the company employs 3,500 R&D engineers and owns 5,308 invention patents.

On June 1, 2021, the new regulations for the supervision and administration of medical devices issued by the State Council took effect, offering a sufficient legal basis for the innovative development of the industry. Ever since the new regulations took effect, the number of innovative medical devices launched in the market increased significantly. In the first five months of 2022, there were 26 newly approved innovative medical devices.

On the topic of the development of China's medical device industry in 2023, according to the report from VBData.cn, surgical robots, endoscopes, implant intervention consumables and cardio-cerebrovascular will be popular focuses.

"Although the market pattern is constantly changing, most investors are still positive and firmly optimistic about the innovation opportunities of the main tracks," Yang said.

Hong Yong, an associate research fellow at the e-commerce research department of the Ministry of Commerce, said: "More governmental supportive policies should be carried out to boost the medical device sector in developing toward a direction that contains high technology. In addition, the industry should strengthen self-management, increase enterprises' operation efficiency to boost overall competitiveness of the industry and realize high-quality development."

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