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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Self-diagnosing devices increase in popularity

By Liu Jie (China Daily)

13:39, April 16, 2012

Doctors are offering voluntary medical checks in Yichang city, Hubei province. The increasing popularity of household medical devices has made self-check more convenient. [Photo / China Daily]

Zheng Xinyi remembers the day in 1991 when her father brought home a bracelet-like device that could take a person's pulse and blood pressure.

"It was really magic," said Zheng, a 40-year-old Beijinger. "My father bought it on a business trip to Japan for my mother, who was suffering from high blood pressure."

"That Omron sphygmomanometer was our first household medical device. Now we have an electric thermometer, a blood glucose machine, a pedometer and fat-weight analyzer," she said.

Recently, Zheng bought an electric wheelchair made by Jiangsu Yuyue Medical Equipment and Supply Co Ltd for her mother, who is partially paralyzed after a stroke last year.

Zheng and her family are not alone. Home health devices are a significant growth industry in China, as the population ages and people's standard of living continues to improve.

In the past decade, a range of medical devices - from monitoring equipment to electric wheelchairs to massage chairs - has become common in urban households.

The market for these devices will continue to increase as Chinese consumers demand timely and effective treatment of a variety of health conditions, said Wu Guangming, vice-chairman of the China Association for Medical Devices Industry.

Sales of household medical equipment in China amounted to 14 billion yuan ($2.22 billion) in 2010, or 14 percent of the 100 billion yuan ($15.8 billion) the nation spent on all medical equipment. The ratio in developed countries is about 25 percent, according to the association.

Medical equipment sales are expected to reach 200 billion yuan by 2015, with an average annual growth rate of 25 percent, but "the home health device sector will develop faster", Wu said.

Per capita expenditure for home health devices in China was 7 yuan in 2009, compared with 90 yuan in the United States and 75 yuan in Japan.

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