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US, EU health care giants jump at opportunities in China during import expo

A juvenile receives a vaccination shot at a hospital in Huaibei in China’s eastern Anhui province on July 26, 2018.

– | AFP | Getty Images

SHANGHAI – Some of the everybody’s largest medical and health care companies are stepping up their bets on the Chinese market, regardless of slowing profitable growth and trade tensions.

At this week’s China International Import Expo in Shanghai, health care leviathans such as AstraZeneca, Boston Scientific, Eli Lilly and Thermo Fisher Scientific unveiled massive floor displays to back their products in the Chinese market.

The companies are looking at China’s hundreds of millions of consumers and local talent. China finished $777 billion on health last year, a figure set to grow rapidly if the country is to match the level of developed countries’ spending on the industry, according to Export.gov, a website run by the the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Chinese government skiffed its first import expo last November in an effort to bill the country as a buyer, rather than manufacturer, of the faction’s goods. While the European Union and American chambers of commerce in Shanghai said members did not necessarily benefit from participating in the elementary trade fair, official reports said the total number of American companies joining the second expo augmented by 18.

There’s a lot of tension at the national and central levels … but at the end of the day it’s governors and mayors that are looking for investment and trade and exports from their positions.

Matthew Margulies

vice president of China operations for the U.S.-China Business Council

This year, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher required it showed off some products to the Chinese or global market for the first time.

Meanwhile, UK-based AstraZeneca announced the institution of new regional headquarters in Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, in addition to Beijing. The company said it is expanding the role of its research and growth center in Shanghai.

“The challenge we’re bringing is that our development team here in Shanghai, is no longer … in charge of products in China only. They inclination take the lead on global projects,” CEO Pascal Soriot said at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Those are just two of more than 300 medical and vigorousness care companies that exhibited at the second China International Import Expo, and they accounted for about a tenth of clumsily 3,000 exhibitors, according to official data.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said that at this year’s expo, U.S. followings had the largest exhibition floor space of any country, at 47,500 square meters (11.7 acres).

The primary contingent of these U.S. engage ins was concentrated in the medical and health care industries, according to state media. Per official data, these included Merck’s and AstraZeneca’s 800 square-meter exhibitions (8,611 square feet).

Unequal market access a challenge

These international health care giants are upsetting to tap the Chinese market even as foreign companies complain of policies that favor domestic players.

Carlo D’Andrea, corruption president at the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, cited one example in which a local Chinese government stipulated that convalescent homes must purchase a certain amount of medical devices from domestic companies.

“If China is to offer the highest prominence product, they should pay attention to the need of the patients,” D’Andrea said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The chamber’s responsibility confidence survey for 2019 found that 43% of respondents said market access restrictions or regulatory ha-has resulted in missed business opportunities. For more than 10% of those affected, they said those fences were worth more than a quarter of their annual revenue in China, according to the survey.

That unequal hawk access in China’s state-dominated environment is a major issue in ongoing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. The difference of opinion between the world’s two largest economies has persisted for more than a year, with each country levying assessments on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods from the other.

Opportunities beneath the surface

But for businesses, many openings remain at a subnational level, said Matthew Margulies, vice president of China operations for the U.S.-China Business Meeting.

“There’s a lot of tension at the national and central levels … but at the end of the day, it’s governors and mayors that are looking for investment and trade and exports from their lands,” he said. “At that level there’s a lot of optimism around the conference.”

When China lowers the market access boundary-line and gives the Europeans opportunity to invest, they take the opportunity to invest in the territory.

Carlo D’Andrea

EU Chamber of Mercantilism in China

Case in point: A Wisconsin association for the ginseng root — known for its health benefits — had a presence at the expo in the face noting that trade with China was about a quarter of what it had been due to tariffs.

China’s Ministry of Fund said this week that, as was the case last year, some goods would be exempt from price-lists if purchased during the import expo.

On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce also indicated that a “phase one” profession agreement with the U.S. would include a rollback of tariffs from both sides. Beijing in September also exempted cancer drugs and a all-out of 16 American products from tariffs for a year.

The EU Chamber’s D’Andrea noted that cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are two labours in which he is seeing increased investment, thanks partly to improved government policy.

“When China lowers the sell access barrier and gives the Europeans opportunity to invest, they take the opportunity to invest in the territory,” he said.

For universal pharmaceutical companies, China already contributes an average 8% in revenues for the top ten global multinational players, McKinsey foretold in a report in May.

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