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Foreign interest grows in aging society

By LIU JIE  (China Daily)

08:22, April 01, 2013

World headquarters of Pfizer Inc in New York.Provided to China Daily

Liu Zhanglin has been working in China's pharmaceutical industry — especially the consumer healthcare and traditional Chinese medicine segments — for nearly three decades.

The industry veteran forecasts the nation's consumer healthcare sector will grow at a steady 10 percent over the next three to five years.

Bruce Liu, a strategy consultant with equally rich experience in the international pharmaceutical industry, is even more optimistic.

He suggests that by 2015, the sector will be worth more than 100 billion yuan ($16.01 billion) from its current 60 billion yuan, and will be growing at around 20 percent annually.

But both professionals share one view — that the sector is likely to become one of China's most lucrative.

Liu Zhanglin, vice-president of China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products, is slightly more conservative with his growth forecasts, but predicts the sector will accelerate at a higher rate than the nation's GDP growth, given the country's aging population.

Bruce Liu, a partner and co-head of the pharma and healthcare practice at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, said one of the most striking aspects of China's fast-growing consumer healthcare sector is the number of multinational pharmaceutical companies competing in an attempt to cash in on market.

Pfizer Inc, the world's largest drugmaker by sales, for instance, announced at the end of January that it planned to target the China healthcare market with launch of a new supplement series.

"Pronutrients" is an advanced line of Pfizer's famous multivitamin brand "Centrum" and has been promoted to China only after its launch in the home market, the United States.

Pfizer now has several mature supplement brands in China, another being "Caltrate".

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