China Remains High Growth Market Despite Shift in Product Mix
The impact of the Chinese government’s 2012 healthcare reform plan on the ultrasound market will be the largest growth driver for the Chinese market. Plans to construct a new network of Tier 2 county-based hospitals, paired with the replacement of ultrasound systems in metropolitan Tier 3 hospitals, will also figure in the robust growth equation, driving annual revenue expansion above 10 percent for the next four years.
Another key market development is the shift in product mix. Previous health reform programs in China focused mostly on equipping rural healthcare clinics with low-end basic ultrasound equipment. However, the newest reform plans to improve county-based services by equipping hospitals with higher-specification equipment. As a result, revenue growth in the mid-range, high-end and premium segments is predicted at between 15 and 25 percent annually for the period from 2014 to 2016.
The clinical use of ultrasound in China is likewise undergoing some changes. Currently most hospitals in China have an ultrasound department where all ultrasound scans are conducted and system procurement is managed. This is in stark contrast to the majority of other global healthcare markets, where ultrasound is routinely found in more than 20 clinical departments. But while China may lag compared to other countries, we predict a significant change in ultrasound use within the country during the five-year period 2012 to 2017
All told, the combination of new government investment, diversifying clinical use and changing product mix is set to drive strong future growth of the ultrasound equipment industry in China. Moreover, improvements in the quality of healthcare services in rural and metropolitan areas alike will further drive positive benefits on the market.