China’s ultrasound market set to exceed $1 billion by 2014, study predicts

June 25, 2010

While the dramatic effects of the economic recession have been felt in the Western European and North American markets for ultrasound imaging equipment, the Chinese market has seen tremendous growth over the last two years. Driven by China’s ongoing healthcare reform, strong economic growth, and the Chinese population’s increasing awareness of healthcare issues, the second edition of InMedica’s study The China Market for Ultrasound Imaging Equipment – 2010 Edition predicts the Chinese market for ultrasound imaging equipment will exceed $1 billion by 2014, growing at a compounded average growth rate of 9.3%.

The economic recession has dampened demand in the Western European and North American markets for ultrasound imaging equipment, but the Chinese market has seen tremendous growth over the last two years. Driven by China’s ongoing healthcare reform, strong economic growth, and the Chinese population’s increasing awareness of healthcare issues, the Chinese market for ultrasound imaging equipment will exceed $1 billion by 2014, growing at a compounded average growth rate of 9.3%, a study by InMedica predicts.

In the short term, the Chinese market for ultrasound equipment has benefited from the government’s focus on upgrading medical devices in the thousands of township and county hospitals across China; this has prevented the previously anticipated dramatic decline of the black and white equipment market. The increasing number of government tenders has also attracted multinational companies to refocus on the low end of the market by setting up local joint ventures, expanding their product lines, and rebuilding sales channels.

“Long-term, the market will be fuelled by the replacement of black and white ultrasound units with higher priced color systems. In addition, more local manufacturers have entered the color market segment, which has increased competition in the marketplace,” said Owen Tang, a Shanghai-based analyst at InMedica. “There are now far more local suppliers of color equipment than when we initially looked at this market in 2008. As a consequence, color equipment has become much more affordable to many more customers. Multinational companies still play a key role in the color systems market, but more so at the high end.”

While healthcare reform in China stimulated demand for ultrasound equipment over the last two years, the government support provided previously will not continue at the same level. Hospitals and health centers themselves are now driving future demand; many are updating existing equipment or expanding to accommodate larger patient volumes. In addition, clinical departments outside of traditional ultrasound departments in large hospitals are beginning to purchase their own ultrasound systems. This is fuelling a new wave of demand and is a trend that InMedica believes will continue into many of the smaller hospitals.