The Chinese diagnostic imaging market will grow to reach a value of more than $2.5 billion by 2016, according to the Millennium Research Group (MRG), a global authority on medical technology market intelligence.
As part of the Chinese government's $125 billion New Medical Reform Plan, intended to provide affordable healthcare to the entire population by 2020, it will invest money to upgrade lower-tier rural hospitals and construct new facilities. As a result, higher-tier hospitals will be able to replace their outdated systems, while smaller, less affluent hospitals will be able to purchase systems for the first time, particularly more advanced modalities such as CT, MRI, and nuclear medicine systems. This will represent a significant sales opportunity for manufacturers of such systems, the report finds.
Domestic competitors have a significant role in the market for analog X-ray and lower-end ultrasound systems. They have relatively lower production costs than multinationals. The large number of domestic competitors keep prices for these systems low, which makes them attractive for less-affluent hospitals and clinics. In 2011 Beijing Wandong Medical Equipment was the overall leader among domestic competitors.
Each of the top three multinational competitors in China, GE Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare and Philips Healthcare, has shares in each of the market's segments: MRI, CT, X-ray, ultrasound and nuclear medicine. They can leverage their brand and establish strong customer relationships. Wealthy urban Chinese show a strong preference for known international brands, and this influences hospital system purchases.
"The Chinese government also has an implementation initiative for positron emission tomography (PET)/CT systems," said MRG Analyst Michelle Chan, in the press release. "They plan to increase licensing and install many new PET/CT systems by 2016. This initiative will initially be limited by the need to establish a radiopharmaceutical supply chain. Once that infrastructure is in place, we can expect to see a rapid increase in sales, probably by 2015."