The Chinese Government is actively encouraging private participation and investment in health care services. This is being driven by a few factors such as an ageing population, an increasing demand for quality health care, and a need for improvements in health care and service delivery.
These factors could provide enormous opportunities for health care providers interested in expanding into China.
China’s ageing population and need for quality aged care
According to Austrade, in February 2014 China had 200 million citizens aged 60 or over, which represents almost 15% of the population. The senior living sector is under-developed and isn’t meeting demand. However, the Chinese Government aims to increase the number of aged care beds to between 7 and 8 million by 2020, and the aged care workforce to 10 million – around 10 times the size it is at present.
Significant growth did occur in the sector in 2013 and 2014 due to government policies and encouragement of private investment, but a shortage of human resources and quality services still remains.
Opportunities for export include training of aged care personnel, home-care delivery, management / operations of senior living facilities and resorts, concept design / planning, food products, and investment in infrastructure.
Dental care services
Dental cavities are a big problem in China, and periodontal disease rates are significant. Dental treatment has traditionally not been given much importance in China and the industry is not well developed. However, awareness of dental health is improving with higher living standards, and the government is also positive towards foreign participation and investment in the sector.
In China, dentists are few and far between, with around 100 dentists per million of population – which is about five times lower than the rate in Australia – and there are also very few orthodontists.
These factors make for significant opportunities for dental service export to China, for both general and specialist dental care, and training and education of dental professionals.
Other health care sectors
China also presents a huge opportunity for export of pharmaceuticals, health care equipment and disability services. Examples include devices and care for the disabled and older people – such as Braille, rehabilitation services, teaching of sign language, and mobility aids such as wheelchairs.
What Victoria is doing
In September 2015, the Victorian Government announced it would be exporting health and medical research and experience to China following a series of talks and agreements. This will include assistance in developing services in aged care and primary and secondary health care, in such fields as neurology, oncology, psychiatry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dental science.
Opportunities for export include consultancy services in policy implementation, health service management, and advice and training, among others.
Chinese companies tend to be keen on trade shows and exhibitions when considering business opportunities, which provides exporters with the chance to connect with the sectors they are interested in. The Care and Rehabilitation Expo is held in October each year in Beijing and is a three-day event for showcasing medical and pharmaceutical services. It may be well worth considering for businesses interested in expanding into China’s health care industry.
For expert experienced assistance in marketing health care services to China, contact our marketing team. We offer content localisation, and can help tailor your marketing materials for your particular target market.