Expos & Conferences


China International Medical Equipment Fair
– local companies set to take on the world

Reed Sinopharm Exhibitions celebrated the 60th anniversary of China’s largest medical equipment show – the China International Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF), late last year. Middle East Health visited the expo for a firsthand insight into the rapidly advancing Chinese medical equipment manufacturing industry.

Many of China’s medical equipment manufacturing companies which are already big in the domestic market are now looking to expand their fledgling export markets, but face stiff competition and the pains of satisfying the various regulations for medical products around the world. This was evident when speaking to the senior executives in these companies while in Suzhou for the China International Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF), which was held from 29 October to 1 November last year. The event in the beautiful historic city of Suzhou near Shanghai attracted more than 50,000 visitors who came to view products from more than 2,000 exhibitors including most of the key global brands, such as GE, Siemens and Getinge, as well as many Chinese medical equipment manufacturers, such as Mindray, Shinva, Edan Instruments and Neusoft Medical Systems. These companies are dominant in the large domestic Chinese market and are now growing their business with relatively recent forays into the foreign export market where they are starting to wield an increasing influence with their competitive pricing and good quality.

Chinese products have generally had a reputation in foreign markets as being inexpensive and of poor quality. What was evident at CMEF Suzhou and in talks with many of the leading Chinese medical equipment manufacturers is that this is changing, particularly as these companies try to grow their export markets and, in order to do so, have to satisfy a range of quality checks and regulations before they can sell in these foreign markets. Following is a brief summary of a selection of interviews Middle East Health held with some of the leading Chinese medical equipment manufacturers exhibiting at CMEF in Suzhou.

Shinva

Middle East Health spoke to Xu Shangfeng, General Manager. Shinva was set up in 1942 during WWII. It started as military hospital and then began manufacturing hospital equipment to meet their needs. Several years later the company branched out as a fully-fledged governmentowned medical equipment manufacturing company and achieved considerable success in China. In 2002 the company was listed on the Shanghai stock exchange. According to Xu, the government now owns only 30% of the company. The public listing has enabled the company to grow exponentially. Before listing the company was valued at 100 million Chinese Yuan (CNY) (about US$15 million). In 2007 it was valued at CNY 600 million and they are targeting CNY 800 million for 2008- 2009 financial year.

Historically, Shinva has made a vast array of products – such as surgical instruments, disposables, X-ray, incinerators. However, two product lines are particularly successful – sterilising and cleaning products including air purifiers and radiotherapy appliances, such as linear accelerators. Shinva is number one in China with these two product lines. When it comes to sterilising and cleaning products, says Xu, Shinva has the largest production volume in the world. Shinva only exports these two key product lines and this accounts for only about 10% of their annual revenue. The largest exports markets are Korea, Russia and SE Asia and also the Middle East – Syria, Iran and others. Xu says they are planning to expand their export markets.

Mindray

Middle East Health spoke to Jie Liu, the COO. In 1992 Mindray brought out their first patient monitor for the Chinese market. This was the beginning of the company’s success. Jie says Mindray’s philosophy has been unique in that it has been very focused on medical devices, compared to other similar Chinese companies which have tried to cover a broad spectrum of products.

“This is one of the reasons why we have been so successful and why we can continue to invest around 10% of our revenue in R&D activities. We have developed many new products, such as the first automatic chemistry analyser and first hepatology analyser in China.”

In 2000 Mindray began exports following receipt of the CE mark for one of its patient monitors. The company has gradually focused more on the export business, but “of course there are different requirements and regulations from the various foreign countries. As well as different user habits which vary from developed to developing countries” which make this a difficult process.

This export drive has pushed Mindray to focus on quality to meet the regulatory standards of different countries. “By 2000 we already had a solid market share in China and by 2003 we were number one in patient monitors in China.

“Being number one in the Chinese market is only equivalent to about 5% of the global market. We realised that Mindray, which has very good engineering capabilities, good manufacturing systems and quality control, had to export in order to grow the company,” Jie explains.

Following Mindray’s recent acquisition of US company Datascope’s patient monitor business the company has been elevated to number three in the world in patient monitors. Its exports are now worth close to 60% of total revenue. “Our biggest selling product – we have many – is probably the portable DP 6600 B&W ultrasound,” says Jie.

Neusoft Medical Systems

Middle East Health spoke to Jian Liu, President. Neusoft Medical Systems is part of the Neusoft Group with around 13,000 employees.

The medical side of the business has around 800 people working in it. The company focuses largely on radiological imaging systems and medical IT. It started with CT and then extended this to X-ray and on to other products, such as patient monitors and biochemical analysers.

In 2004 the company formed a strategic partnership with Philips Healthcare for diagnostic imaging in CT, Xray and ultrasound in which “we will together develop and manufacture these products, although they will be sold separately under the respective names – Philips and Neusoft.”

Some of Neusoft’s key products include the NeuViz 16 Multi-Slice CT, The Sparkler 1.5T MRI, The NSX-RF3900 X-ray system as well as a PET scanner and linear accelerator. Neusoft has developed it own “Intelligent Assistant Series” of software (OsteoCARE, MammoCAD, CardioCARE, LungCAD and others) for these systems as well as a NeuPACS to integrate the systems and archive and share the image data.

The company is expecting to get FDA and CE certification for its 16-slice CT in the first quarter of 2009.

YuYue

Middle East Health spoke to Kevin Wu, President and Manager. Jiangsu YuYue Medical Equipment Company (YuYue) is a big player in the Chinese market with several leading products. It also has a substantial export market stretching to around 40 countries.

YuYue manufactures some 225 medical products including stethoscopes, medical nebulizers, suction devices, wheelchairs and oxygen regulators and has substantial R&D, manufacturing and distribution operations. YuYue was listed in China in April 2008.

Edan Instruments

Middle East Health spoke to James Wang, Executive Manager. Edan Instruments is one of the leading medical equipment manufacturers in China.

Established in 1995 and located in Shenzhen, the company employs more than 500 people in R&D, manufacturing and marketing. “We manufacture, develop, and market fetal monitors, fetal dopplers, electrocardiographs (ECG), patient monitors, ultrasound and transcranial dopplers (TCD),” says Wang.

Since Edan was established its market share has grown substantially in China and it is now one of the leading manufacturer- suppliers of TCDs, patient monitors, fetal monitors and fetal dopplers. Edan started exports in 2002 and this business has expanded rapidly.

“Annual export sales have increased 100% since 2002,” says Wang. Edan has 20 offices in China and a solid distribution network in more than 100 countries.



 D
ate of upload: 25th January 2009

                                  
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