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Does China's leading place in the global MedTech market reflect the commercial reality?

By Ivor Campbell - posted Friday, 12 April 2024

The recent Medlab Middle East convention in Dubai showcased China's formidable and growing presence in the global medical technology industry.

Delegates from the East Asian country occupied around a quarter of the floor space, appearing to outnumber and outmuscle even major players, like the US and India with the sheer volume of companies on display.

With each trumpeting new and exciting developments across a range of disciplines – including diagnostics, vaccines, epidemic control, and in vitro diagnostic instruments – you could be forgiven for thinking the country is both the epicentre and the driving force behind global the industry.


But while it is the world's second biggest market, behind the US – with a predicted growth rate of 10-15% this year – its activities are principally focused on its own internal market and a handful of others, mainly in Russia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

In the West Chinese MedTech remains an unknown quantity

To many healthcare buyers in the US, Europe, South-East Asia, and in the growing markets of Africa and South America, China remains an enigmatic and largely unexplored entity.

Even industry veterans in those territories will tell you that the only time they only ever come into proximity with a Chinese MedTech, biotech, or life sciences company is at international trade conventions.

Medlab Middle East has evolved into a renowned global laboratory exhibition and an internationally acclaimed professional IVD expo, with more than 23,000 professional delegates and 650 companies from 140 countries and regions.

This year the Chinese delegation was out in force, both physically and across all of the pre-convention marketing hype.


In the run up to the three-day event, it was noticeable how quickly in-boxes filled with press releases promoting the latest Chinese innovations, including biotechnology company Vazyme's automatic nucleic acid extraction instrument, its SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection kit, its post-vaccination antibody detection kit, and its quantum dot fluorescence immune analysers.

Tianlong, in collaboration with Shanghai Kehua Bioengineering and Focus Diagnostics, highlighted a range of solutions, including its innovative Gentier X3 series real-time PCR system.

Meanwhile, among the new technologies showcased by Fapon, a global life sciences company, was its ultra-high throughput CLIA system, Shine i8000/9000.

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About the Author

Ivor Campbell is chief executive of Callander-based Snedden Campbell, a specialist recruitment consultant for the medical technology industry.

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