Tuesday, 27 November 2012

China's medical equipment makers face 'prejudice' overseas

Chinese manufacturers such as Mindray must tackle the 'prejudice' against cheap Chinese exports
 Chinese healthcare equipment maker Mindray continues to gain recognition overseas despite some ongoing prejudice, reports Cecily Liu in London
David Yin, managing director of Europe at the Shenzhen-based Mindray Medical International Ltd, says that Mindray is now a large player in the medical devices industry, exporting products to 190 countries and regions.
In 2011, it had $881 million in net revenue, more than half of which was generated overseas.
"We are committed to international expansion, especially in Europe and the United States," Yin said. "These two markets are like two fortresses we have to conquer to become a truly global leader.
Mindray was established in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in 1991, originally as a trade company that sold medical equipment produced by foreign companies in China.
But the founders of the company, Xu Huang and Li Xiting - who had both worked in the 1980s as engineers at a State-owned maker of medical instruments - had ambitions to have Mindray produce its own medical equipment.
Under that impetus, the company began to invest heavily in research and development and developed its first patient-monitoring device in 1992.
Mindray began to prepare itself for international expansion later that same decade after recognizing that the market for medical equipment was smaller in China than in advanced economies such as Europe and the US, where healthcare is a priority of the public sector. One important step it took toward that end was making sure its products met regulatory standards abroad.
Most of the company's devices and equipment bear the European Economic Area's CE marking, meaning they can be sold in the countries that make up European Union, plus in Iceland, Liechenstein and Norway. Some of its products have also won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
However, one obstacle Mindray still must overcome is the prevailing prejudice against Chinese products, Yin said.
"This is particularly a challenge when it comes to customers of developed markets like Europe and the US," Yin said.
"We had to continuously explain to them that Chinese products are not just cheap exports, but because China has many high-tech companies, it has many highly skilled employees. And it has many companies that understand clients' needs and are keen to solve clients' problems."
Read more: China Daily

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