Recent reports from Asia have brought to light some eye-catching developments in the medical world. The University of Hong Kong, for example, this year announced the world’s first robot capable of performing abdominal surgery without actually cutting into the patient’s body. Equally fantastical were claims last month from Kyoto university in Japan that they can now create a human blood vessel using nothing more than a 3D printer.
Although seemingly far-fetched, it’s clear that the Far East is home to advanced levels of research and some impressive breakthroughs in the healthcare field. But despite this, it is estimated that up to 75% of high-tech medical devices in Asia are still imported from the West and that the region is seen as a must-have market for Western firms looking to expand internationally. Not only is Asia on course to become the biggest medical device market in the world, it is the fastest growing. In China, three new hospitals are reported to open every day.
Will Jasprizza, Director at Intralink, a leading provider of Asia market development services in the Healthcare sector, said, “All of the major Asian economies – China, Japan and Korea – display the key characteristics of a booming medical devices market. These include ageing populations, a growing number of Western lifestyle diseases, and increased spending on healthcare. This points to a massive opportunity, though many challenges remain, not least cultural and linguistic differences and an unfamiliar regulatory environment.”
This week sees the return of Medica in Dusseldorf, the world’s largest trade show for healthcare in the world. The organisers expect more than 130,000 people from 120 countries to be in attendance, including the largest number of Asian visitors in its forty year history.
“What’s interesting this year,” said Jasprizza, “is not just the number of Asian companies in attendance, but also the number of different technology verticals that are starting to make a real impact in the healthcare sector. These include wearables, Internet of Things, 3D printing, and Artificial Intelligence – all of which are big topics in Asia. What is clear is that Western companies with global aspirations can no longer afford to ignore the booming Asian medical device market.”
Intralink is the leading provider of market access and business development services to western companies targeting China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Founded in 1990, the company is headquartered in the UK and has offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei. For more visit www.intralinkgroup.com.