The developments in China’s medical device market is taking place at a breakneck speed. This makes the Chinese medical device sector a highly lucrative market that top medical device companies cannot afford to ignore. The medical device market in the region consists of several tiers, ranging from high-end to mass-market equipment. High-end equipment consists of the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies, which are usually contained only in imported products, while mass-market equipment incorporates older technology used for basic screening and treatment. The ongoing healthcare reform in China is expected to reform and reshape the market in fundamental ways. The medical device industry will largely be dominated by three significant changes over the next couple of years. This includes:
- Rising importance of the midmarket
- Growth of local companies
- Revamping ways in which medical device products are sold
Although these changes will create huge opportunities for medical device companies, they also come with a set of challenges that could affect both MNCs and local players in the medical device market. In order to thrive, international medical device manufacturers must defend their leadership position at the premium end of the market against stronger local rivals while expanding their reach in the fast-growing midmarket. On the other hand, local companies in China’s medical device market must focus on developing the products, skills, and talent required to succeed at the upper end of the midmarket and some premium segments as well.
In this article, our healthcare industry experts reveal some key strategies to survive in China’s medical device market.
Strategies for MNCs’ in China’s medical device market
Focus more on midmarket
To be in head to head competition with local medical device companies, it is vital for MNCs’ to capture share in the midmarket. To achieve this, companies must start by developing a mid-market portfolio that meets the demands of patients and healthcare providers in China. They can choose to opt for an organic new product development, joint ventures, or acquisitions. Furthermore, building a go-to-market model that is not only sufficient but is also highly efficient can also prove to be helpful. Making changes to the go-to-market model, manufacturing, and sourcing, with a focus to lower costs is paramount for winning in the midmarket.
Stronger skills and strategies in government affairs
Although some top medical device companies have established strong relationships with central and local government agencies in China, it is not so across the board. Stronger skills sets and well-defined strategies in government affairs is paramount to shape regulatory policies on product registration, pricing, and compliance.
Strategies for local companies in China’s medical device market
Make strategic investments
Companies in China’s local medical device market that want to establish their position in the middle and premium ends of the market must upgrade the quality of their existing products and emphasize on developing new and innovative offerings. Local players can also consider partnering with R&D centers or setting up joint ventures with MNCs’ in the medical device industry to gain access to advanced technologies.
Enhance skills and processes
Venturing into the premium products market will require local medical device companies to have a more sophisticated sales and marketing operation than the existing ones in place. The excessive reliance on distributors in many cases must be reduced, instead, direct relationships can be built with key accounts through their own salesforce.