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Diverse markets, diverse opportunities
These countries are currently undergoing different phases of development, both in overall terms and more pertinently, in the growth of their respective medical device markets.
Japan, South Korea and Taiwan represent highly-developed medical device markets with advanced healthcare systems and high levels of spending, both in the private and public sector. This has inevitably placed a strain on governments, who have in recent years tried to temper escalating spending by introducing various cost containment strategies, including periodical price cuts/reimbursements for medical devices and equipment.
However, spending has continued to rise; key factors being the ageing demographics and the high standards of healthcare the population has grown to expect.
Japan and South Korea, in particular, have strong domestic manufacturing capabilities, especially for modern high-tech medical devices, but these countries continue to rely heavily on imports to meet demand.
China’s challenge is different
China’s healthcare provision is somewhat lacking when compared to the other three countries, but it remains one of the fastest growing medical device markets in the world, and is projected to expand at a solid 20.2% CAGR in the 2012-17 period.
This growth rate, along with the other countries, will be impacted by the global economic slowdown, but compared to some other industries, the healthcare sector has not been as adversely affected as it is based on strong fundamentals.
The medical device sector growth continues to be backed by actual, and not artificial, demand which is not likely to change significantly in the near future.
Highlights from the Region
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 CNY 850 billion (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 has expanded the health insurance programme to cover all rural residents. Urban health insurance was already well established, covering nearly all working citizens, and cover has now been extended to all urban dwellers, including the unemployed and children who were not covered previously.
Despite being small in size, Hong Kong has one of the largest markets in Asia. The Hong Kong market for medical equipment and supplies was estimated at US$497.0 million in 2012. In per capita terms, expenditure was US$69.5 in 2012. The medical device market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 8.6% in US dollar terms over the forecast period, increasing to US$750.6 million in 2017, equivalent to US$103.1 per capita.
Japan is the third largest economy in the world behind the USA and China. The medical device market remains the second largest, behind only the USA. Per capita GDP is also high, among the top ten in the world. The USA and Germany are the only countries to import more medical equipment, and Japan is the eighth highest exporter of medical devices in the world. Japan has some of the best vital statistics in the world, including the lowest infant mortality rate and highest adult life expectancy. A rapidly ageing population has burdened the healthcare system both in terms of funding and facilities and is of great concern for the Japanese government. In September 2011, the Ministry of Health said medical spending has continued to rise in line with the ageing population and also blamed the rise on the use of increasingly sophisticated and expensive equipment & technology, such as MRI, CT and endoscopic keyhole surgery.
South Korea ranks as one of the world’s leading economies, with a population approaching 50 million and overall GDP listed among the top 15 in the world. As a result, much of the population expects a high level of medical care. South Korea has the highest healthcare expenditure of all the ‘Asian Tigers’, with an estimated 59% funded by the public sector. Almost every citizen is covered by the country’s public health insurance system. The government has been forced to implement cost-cutting measures in recent years, owing to a large deficit faced by the healthcare system. Healthcare costs continue to rise, with the country’s rapidly ageing population adding upward pressure to total spending. In the first half of 2009 for example, senior citizens accounted for 31.7% of costs covered by the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC).
Taiwan is one of the richest countries in the Asia Pacific region. It has a strong healthcare system and the universal health insurance ensures that all citizens have grown to expect a high level of care. That said, like a lot of public welfare systems, the healthcare system is being constrained by rising costs, and a rapidly growing elderly population is adding to this. Health remains a contentious issue in Taiwan. In January 2013, the government introduced the Second Generation Health Insurance Programme, which was postponed from July 2012. Under this programme, insurance premiums were reduced slightly from 5.17% of income to 4.91%. However, an extra 2% premium will be levied on income outside regular salaries formerly not liable for consideration, such as interest, professional fees, rent, stock dividends and bonuses.
5 KEY MARKETS COVERED
China and North East Asia Medical Device Market Reports are published by Espicom. Each report provides an individual and highly-detailed analysis of each market, looking at the key regulatory, political, economic and corporate developments in the wider context of market structure, service and access. The reports are available individually or as a discounted collection, and the price includes 4 completely updated reports sent quarterly and details of local medical equipment distributors.