Economic Watch: China becoming prescription for success to global healthcare firms

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-11 20:22:22|Editor: Li Xia
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BEIJING, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- A new life science park has opened in eastern China's Wuxi City, seeking to attract investment and top researchers from global healthcare firms.

British medical device company ClearSky Medical Diagnostics is one of the first batch of 10 firms to settle in the Wuxi International Life Science Innovation Campus, drawn by the benefits that the Chinese market can offer.

The Chinese healthcare market provides a sizable platform, and the resources and support provided by the local government and other partners would help speed up innovation and expand business and market influence in China and beyond, said Stephen Smith, chief scientist with ClearSky.

China, despite a slowing headline GDP growth, is drawing continous investment from global pharmaceutical and medical service firms, which bet on the country's expanding healthcare market for long-term success.

China has become a CEO-level priority for multinational pharmaceutical companies, according to Franck Le Deu, senior partner with McKinsey & Company and head of the Greater China healthcare practice, adding that the country is already a key contributor to the revenue and growth of multinational pharma companies and an emerging source of product, portfolio and business model innovation.

The country's healthcare sector poses huge growth potential due to the rising and diversifying demands for medical products and services, said Leon Wang, executive vice president, international and China president with AstraZeneca, a founding partner of the park.

China has become AstraZeneca's second-largest market and one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide. The opening of the new life science park came after the Cambridge-headquartered company set up its China Commercial Innovation Centre, also in Wuxi.

American pharmaceutical firm MSD saw its China sales grow at a robust pace of 41 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared with global growth of 15 percent.

The country released the "Healthy China 2030" blueprint in 2016, which covered areas including public health services, environment management, the medical industry, food and drug safety. The overall health services market is expected to reach 16 trillion yuan (about 2.25 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2030.

"We can see things are now progressing really nicely in China as the Chinese government wants innovation, and the drug regulator has become much more modern and is now working faster," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer of Danish diabetes care giant Novo Nordisk.

AstraZeneca, MSD and Novo Nordisk will all attend the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in November this year with multiple new launches.

The CIIE manifests China's determination to pursue further opening-up and reform for international exchanges and economic and trade cooperation. The introduction of a series of new laws and regulations help improve the business environment, said Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President Christine Zhou, who also oversees the company's Greater China business.

"It provides an incredible opportunity for the multinational pharmaceutical companies and all foreign-invested enterprises, and reinforces our confidence in the Chinese market," Zhou said.