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Global companies see business expand rapidly in China

By Liu Jie (China Daily)

13:20, October 09, 2012

A salesman shows a computer tomography machine at the 20th China International Medical Equipment & Affiliated Facilities Exhibition and Scientific Conference. Many international medical-care companies, including drugmakers and medical-device producers, have begun conducting research and development in emerging markets such as China. [Photo/China Daily]

GE Healthcare has sold 100 of its new optical magnetic resonance machines in China over the past nine months and 500 across the globe during the past two years.

These are strong sales figures, but perhaps more striking is the fact that the machine is both manufactured and developed in China.

China contains an important part of the company's international research and development capabilities and has been integral in its global business model for some years, according to Richard Hausmann, vice-president of magnetic resonance healthcare systems at GE Healthcare, the medical arm of General Electric Co.

GE Healthcare is not alone. Many international medical care companies, including drug makers and medical device producers, have begun conducting R&D activity in emerging markets such as China, before using the advances made to extend their power in global market.

"We intend to significantly strengthen our engineering capabilities in China and will more than double our engineering workforce just for magnetic resonance," said Hausmann.

GE Healthcare plans to have 180 magnetic resonance engineers in China by the end of the year, compared to 20 it had when its China R&D center was set up in Beijing in 2007.

GE's new magnetic resonance machines are now exported to Japan, India, South America and Europe. Over the next three years the company will speed up R&D activity, manufacturing and training in order to increase production. It will also further localize raw material and component supplies to strengthen price competitiveness and enhance its installation and maintenance services, said Hausmann.

International drug maker Ipsen has not followed the GE route. Instead of setting up an R&D facility in China, it is in search of local research institutes and universities to cooperate with.

According to Marc de Garidel, chairman and chief executive officer of the France-based company, Ipsen's strategy in China includes opening an office in Beijing to cover its Asia business, an operations center engaged in collaborations with local institutes and the expansion of clinical experiments in China.

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