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Demand for Digital Technology to Boost China X-ray Equipment Revenues 50 Percent by 2017

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The Chinese market for X-ray equipment will grow 50 percent from 2012 levels to reach more than $1.5 billion by 2017, according to a new report from IHS (NYSE: IHS). With an 8.3 percent annual growth rate over the period, the Chinese market is forecast to account for 22 percent of global general radiography revenues by 2017—equivalent to that of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Recent reforms to China’s healthcare system that have increased public expenditure on hospitals, combined with the transition from analog to digital technology, are driving this growth, according to the report entitled “The Chinese Market for X-Ray Equipment – 2013.”

Previous health reform programs in China focused mostly on equipping rural healthcare clinics with basic analog X-ray systems. However, the newest reforms include provision to Tier 2 rural hospitals of higher-specification equipment, including digital flat panel detector (FPD) X-ray systems. Tier 3 metropolitan hospitals, despite previous widespread investment in digital X-ray systems, are expected to maintain strong demand for new digital radiography (DR) equipment.

Between 2013 and 2015, IHS forecasts for the FPD DR segment alone an annual growth rate of between 10 and 17 percent.

“Hospitals closely monitor the daily patient scan volume and, once they reach 100 patient scans per system, they are deemed to have reached ‘maximum efficiency,’” noted Benjamin Niu, IHS analyst and author of the report. “The hospital will then purchase new equipment to handle the additional demand, and almost all are opting for high-specification FPD systems.”

Further driving purchases of FPD digital radiography X-ray equipment is the additional revenue that they generate.

“Return on investment is a critical factor for hospitals making purchasing decisions, as the current funding from the Chinese government is not enough to support all of a hospital’s procurement activities,” Niu said.

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