BUSINESS Med devices see big demand

BUSINESS

Med devices see big demand

China Daily

10:23, June 27, 2022

Employees assemble respiratory therapy devices in a workshop at Vincent Medical Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed medical technology company, in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in May. [Photo: China Daily]

Vincent Medical ramps up equipment production for export due to COVID-19

While pursuing official approvals for a number of its products in developed markets including the United States and European nations, Vincent Medical Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed medical technology company, plans to expand its manufacturing and innovation facilities to meet soaring demand for various smart medical equipment in Southeast Asia.

Many opportunities arose from both developed and developing countries' surging demand for medical equipment, such as high-flow oxygen therapy devices, respiratory humidification systems and rehabilitation devices from China, as well as their established goals of making better healthcare solutions more accessible to residents in the coming years.

Choi Cheung Tai, the group's deputy CEO, said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed governments across the world to deploy ample resources to make the supply of respiratory products a priority over the past two years in order to meet the growing demand caused by a huge number of patients.

In addition to receiving numerous orders from many parts of the world, Vincent Medical recruited additional staff to run its production at full capacity, added new manufacturing machinery and built cleanroom workshops to bolster production capacity in the first half of 2020.

Even though the sudden influx of orders was an unprecedented challenge for the company, it eventually turned this challenge into an opportunity to enter markets in the Middle East, India and member economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during the pandemic.

Backed by its complete industrial support and ecological systems, strong financing ability, mature workforce and growing investment in scientific innovation, China has provided stability to the global supply chain amid economic disruptions.

China exported $99.41 billion worth of medical equipment, such as ventilators, oxygen generators and pre-filled vaccine syringes, in 2021, said the Beijing-based China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products.

Eager to enhance its earnings strength, Vincent Medical has actively cooperated with global partners to distribute its respiratory products over the past two years. It has partnered with well-known companies, such as Royal Philips NV, Medtronic Plc and China National Pharmaceutical Group, to further expand its global presence. Its products to date have been exported to more than 100 countries and regions around the world.

"We have been actively exploring other emerging markets in Asia in recent years, which has a massive population and a fast-growing economy. In the wake of the pandemic, we have strengthened our connections with local medical institutions, and have been distributing medical products to many countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand," Choi said.

Since the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which took effect on Jan 1, the executive said that the company has received more inquiries from business partners in Southeast Asia about its products. This advanced free trade deal would accelerate trade between China and other signatory countries, propel regional economic integration and encourage Chinese companies to invest more in these markets.

For instance, demand from Indonesia, with a population of more than 260 million, will be one of the company's priority markets in the years to come, he added.

Pushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Choi predicted that many countries will review the reserves of their healthcare resources and allocate more resources to respiratory medical supplies to tackle the next potential respiratory disease outbreaks.

"At the same time, the pandemic has led to enhanced recognition of the functions of our high-flow oxygen therapy technology. It provides solutions not merely for COVID-19 treatment but also a wide range of other respiratory diseases. More medical institutions will adopt the product due to its applicability and adaptability," he said. "We will enter the home care market to provide appropriate treatment for patients with chronic diseases in the next step."

The group, supported by more than 1,300 employees and a manufacturing base in Dongguan, Guangdong province, will also make use of the latest technologies with the internet of things, cloud computation and remote monitoring, in order to develop new products in two major areas-namely respiratory and orthopedic rehabilitation-that will cover smart devices, diagnostic instruments, artificial intelligence analysis and data analysis. The company will keep spending about 5 percent of its sales revenue on research and development on an annual basis.

Apart from tapping into overseas markets, the Hong Kong-based company, established in 1997, will leverage its advantageous geographical position to capture growth prospects from the coordinated regional development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

As it is running out of manufacturing space in Dongguan, Choi said that Vincent Medical is also seeking opportunities to invest and build new manufacturing facilities in cities within the Greater Bay Area, as the demand for rehabilitation solutions and medical services is huge in the region.

Research released in November by HSBC said 76 percent of international businesses surveyed have plans to expand in the Greater Bay Area. And more than half of international firms believe the area is set to experience higher growth than the rest of China, according to HSBC's 2021 Navigator survey.

The GBA, with over 86 million residents, had a GDP of 12.6 trillion yuan ($1.88 trillion) in 2021, a growth of 2.4 trillion yuan from 2017, according to the Guangdong provincial government.

Wei Xiaoquan, a researcher specializing in regional economic development at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that China's Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao GBA, introduced in 2019, has already injected new impetus into technology companies in the region, generating more business opportunities for emerging industries and innovative firms.

The GBA has a complete supply chain in all aspects. It is also supported by several international airports, three major global ports, two of the world's fastest-growing stock exchanges and an international financial center, he said.

"The GBA is also rich in talent resources. This should be used to promote regional economic interaction, tourism investment and domestic consumption," he said, adding that cities in the GBA should work together to build a tourism brand and promote it to other cities on the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world.

As the central government supports the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions to participate in commercial projects related to the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, it will deepen cooperation between the two regions and the Chinese mainland on trade, innovation and technology, and the connectivity of financial markets, said Zhao Ping, vice-president of the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Beijing.

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