£810 / $1295 / €985
China has the world’s largest population. In 2009, it was officially estimated at 1,334.7 million. The province of Guangdong, in south-central China, had the largest population, with 96.4 million, equal to 7.2% of the total. Eastern China was the most populated region of the country, inhabited by 384.9 million people in 2009. The area includes Shanghai, China’s largest city, with a population of 19.2 million.
In 2009, the Chinese government committed 850 billion yuan (US$124 billion) to develop the country’s healthcare system over a three-year period. The plan is to create a solid platform for universal healthcare access for all by 2020. The Chinese government expanded the health insurance programme to cover all rural residents by the end of 2008. Urban health insurance was already well established, covering nearly all working citizens, and the government plans to cover all urban dwellers, including the unemployed and children who were not covered previously.
The prospects for medical device spending is huge; the government has committed heavily in the construction of thousands of hospitals, healthcare centres, clinics and this will inevitably lead to spending on capital goods, most notably medical devices, equipment and furniture at an unprecedented rate in a relatively short space of time.
Priority has been given to the construction and renovation of around 2,000 county level-hospitals, so that each county will have at least one such facility. County-level hospitals are usually the best equipped hospitals in the country and must have at least 250 beds. The central government will fund the construction of 29,000 township hospitals, and the upgrading of another 5,000, according to the plan. The government has also allocated funds for the construction of village clinics in remote areas so that every village will have at least one unit by the end of the three-year period.
Since opening its economy to the West in the late 1970s, China has experienced rapid growth. For 2012, China’s GDP is estimated at US$8,127.0 billion. While this makes China one of the world’s largest economies, the sheer size of the population means that per capita wealth is relatively low, at around US$6,120 in 2012.
For the 2012-17 period, Espicom estimates market growth to be in the region of 20.2% per year; one of the fastest growing markets in the world. High rates of growth are not uncommon in the Asian region, but on the back of a huge market size, China’s growth is particularly pronounced.
Latest annual data to December 2011 show that imports have grown very strongly during the period, rising by 26.6% to reach US$8,552.1 million. All product categories posted strong growth during the period, with consumables leading the way with a rise of 30.4% over the previous year. All other categories achieved over twenty-percent rises during the period except for orthopaedic products, which still achieved an impressive 14.4% rise over 2010.
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