Philips kicks off MRI sales in China

March 13, 1991

Philips Medical Systems International apparently made a good impressionon visiting Chinese physicians during the 1990 Radiological Societyof North America conference. Authorities in the People's Republicof China ordered a second Philips T5 mid-field

Philips Medical Systems International apparently made a good impressionon visiting Chinese physicians during the 1990 Radiological Societyof North America conference. Authorities in the People's Republicof China ordered a second Philips T5 mid-field magnetic resonanceimaging scanner last month. The first T5 unit is scheduled fordelivery in May.

The Chinese do not express much interest in low-field MRI,said Ron F. Jongbloets, PMSI regional manager for China, HongKong and Southeast Asia. They are looking for mid-field scannersto operate in regular hospitals and high-field systems for universityfacilities, he said.

A research group of Chinese university-affiliated doctors selectedthe T5 as the best mid-field MRI system during the RSNA meetinglast November in Chicago, Jongbloets said.

The two MRI orders mark an important initial step for PMSIin the PRC. Philips has no MRI systems installed in that country,although eight of its computed tomography units are installed,Jongbloets said.

The MRI market is in its infancy in China. There are only about10 systems overall in the country, compared to about 300 CT scanners,he said.

The Chinese hope to develop indigenous MRI manufacturing capabilities.They already produce low-field 0.15-tesla permanent magnet MRIunits through a joint venture with Analogic of the U.S. (SCAN12/14/88), Jongbloets said.

PRC officials are also interested in producing 0.5-tesla MRIsystems. Philips is exploring possible forms of cooperation insuch an endeavor, he said.

Chinese authorities only release enough foreign exchange tofinance the importation of four MRI systems a year. PMSI has beenable to deal directly with hospitals, although central permissionis required for high-value medical equipment purchases, he said.