Market for Medical Technologies

Opportunities for innovative German solutions in China’s fast growing MedTech market

In 2023, German Centre Beijing hosts a seminar series to discuss China’s MedTech market and its potential for German companies. On the occasion of the launch of the series, we did an interview with Jochen Tenhagen and Felix Wiebe.

Finding the right strategy in a challenging economy

China is a big and fast-growing market for the global MedTech industry. Healthcare expenditure could more than double this decade if the government’s Healthy China 2030 plan stays on track. This provides huge opportunities for international MedTech players.

At the same time, various uncertainties facing business leaders are likely to continue, and MedTech companies need to rethink their strategies and business operations in response to new market dynamics.

German Centre Beijing is organising a seminar series on “Opportunities for innovative German solutions in China’s fast growing MedTech market”. We talked to Jochen Tenhagen, Managing Director, and Felix Wiebe, Project Manager, about their motivation to set up the MedTech seminar series and why German SMEs should participate.

Interview

Jochen and Felix, German Centre Beijing is home to 70 companies from various industries, many of which have German roots. Why did you choose Medical Technologies as focus topic for a seminar series now?

Felix Wiebe

The German MedTech industry is by far the largest in Europe. The industry employs over 250,000 people and generated revenues of 36.4 billion Euros in the past year. It is a highly export-oriented sector and around two thirds of the production is exported.

Felix Wiebe

China is the second biggest export market for German MedTech products. The Chinese market has seen significant growth in the past, especially for high-end and innovative technology products. It is expected that this development continues. A growing middle class, aging population and increasing health awareness, coupled with favourable policies and technology advancements are additional growth drivers. This leads to diverse opportunities for German MedTech companies.

However, the Chinese MedTech market becomes more competitive and challenging for foreign players in many ways. Enterprises need to develop market-specific strategies and unique selling propositions to be successful. This applies to market newcomers and well-established companies alike.

Jochen Tenhagen

German MedTech companies are highly innovative and provide technically sophisticated products – a third of total revenues is made with products which are less than three years old. Over 90% of German MedTech companies are small and medium-sized ones with up to 250 employees.

Jochen Tenhagen

In China, approval procedures for certain products can last for up to three years and can require investments of six-digit Euro amounts. So companies tend to focus on specific market niches and emerging product categories. It is advisable to put out feelers at an early stage, build up market knowledge and liaise with experienced companies, distributors and clients. And here our seminar series comes in: We provide a platform to exchange best practices, learn from each other, establish valuable networks and explore collaboration opportunities.

Cagr-medtech-china

German companies are ready to provide high-end products, knowledge and skills. What is the biggest challenge for German MedTech companies in the Chinese market?

Jochen Tenhagen:
Despite its huge potential, there are various challenges in the Chinese Medtech market. We already mentioned the regulatory environment, such as time-consuming and costly product approval procedures. Chinese competitors are also catching up quickly, supported by government initiatives like “Made In China 2025” or “Healthy China 2030”. Moreover, reforms in the government’s procurement and medical insurance programmes are leading to decreasing price levels, especially for less differentiated and standardized products.

Other uncertainties facing international enterprises can be expressed in questions such as: What is the ideal company structure in China? Should businesses export from Germany or set up local production sites? How do they prepare a business plan in a highly dynamic environment? How do foreign companies win public tenders? How can they build up other sales channels, create customer touchpoints and retention? Or how can they protect intellectual property?

There are some obstacles in the way to success in China’s MedTech market and your seminar series is meant to provide some guidance and advice on how to jump them. Let us talk about it: what have you planned and which topics will be discussed?

Felix Wiebe:
The seminar series starts in May with an introductory session providing an overview on key trends and developments in China’s MedTech Market. This is followed by three additional seminars picking up on major fields of innovation and MedTech growth drivers: Miniaturization, Digitalization, and Molecularization. In all four seminars we have speakers from German MedTech companies that introduce their latest product innovations and share their experiences and market approach in China.

Jochen Tenhagen:
This MedTech seminar series addresses the latest industry developments, like micro- and nanotechnologies enabling minimally invasive surgery, digital transformation of medical devices and supply chains, or precision medicine as an emerging approach for disease treatment. We partner up with companies, MedTech clusters and leading industry experts from China and Germany.

Our role as a German Centre is to provide practical and hands-on information. As networking platform, we bring companies and other industry experts together to talk about the business environment, opportunities and challenges in China, and to share best practices. We are sure that the series is a straight-forward format to learn from each other and to compare and evaluate own strategies with the ones from other companies. The seminars deliver valuable contents for all companies planning to succeed in China.

That sounds like an opportuntiy you should not miss. How can companies participate?

Felix Wiebe:
All seminars are hybrid, and you can either take part on site at German Centre Beijing or join us online.
Details and registration can be found on our website

Thank you, Jochen and Felix!

Your entry to Beijing made easy