Pfizer on a rural mission

11:21, December 17, 2009      

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Pfizer Inc, the world's largest drugmaker, is doubling its presence in China over the next three years and intends to make its products more accessible to people in rural areas.

The company plans to expand its presence from 180 to over 360 cities by 2012, said E Allan Gabor, president of Pfizer North Asia, in an exclusive interview with China Daily yesterday.

Gabor said China would be one of the top markets for Pfizer next year.

"Ultimately we want to be in 630 cities, and that will take a few more years," he said. "China is the most important developing market for us. If we put the country's aging population and urbanization together, it truly makes it a unique market."

The expansion indicates that Pfizer not only intends to expand its presence in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but also in central and western China.

The Chinese government recently announced its intention to revamp the medical care system in the country over the next three years and said it would invest 850 billion yuan ($124.49 billion). By this, the government intends to add 500 million people to the healthcare system, mostly from rural areas.

According to recent government regulations, farmers are entitled to a maximum medical compensation equivalent to six times their individual income. Healthcare companies saw this an excellent opportunity to tap the market in rural China.

Gabor, however, admits that complexities would increase as Pfizer expands into newer destinations. "When you go from tier-1 cities to tier-2 cities, from tier-2 to tier-3 and from tier-3 to tier-4, it is not the same business model and complexities vary," he said.

Source:China Daily
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