At a glance: The MIIT issued a new draft plan for public comments to accelerate the high-quality development of the medical equipment industry over the next five years. The blueprint outlines several goals for 2025, including:
- Achieve major breakthroughs in high-end medical equipment (e.g., diagnostic testing equipment), as well as key components and materials
- Ensure the safety and reliability of high-end medical equipment
- Improve China’s innovation leadership in medical equipment, e.g., by elevating 6-8 Chinese companies to the global top 50 medical device companies
- Develop new forms of healthcare, e.g., telemedicine, smart medical care and precision medicine
By 2030, China is to become a global hub for high-end medical equipment R&D, manufacturing and application. The plan also highlights the goal of promoting the integration of traditional medical equipment with new technologies such as 5G, AI, and the Industrial Internet, including improving hospital information infrastructure.
MERICS comment: Chinese efforts to upgrade, and specifically digitalize, the healthcare industry are by no means new. High-performance medical equipment was one of ten strategic industries identified for industrial upgrading in the "Made in China 2025” initiative, and the government has long pushed for the integration of Internet technologies with traditional medical devices and services as part of its “Internet + Healthcare” initiative. However, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of digital healthcare solutions such as online doctor’s consultations and smart medical assistants and added a sense of urgency.
Though still in draft format and light on specifics, the plan indicates continued government support for innovative companies in the field. Much of this support will likely go to Chinese companies. But given the expertise of leading European companies in the MedTech space, especially in the premium segment, foreign companies may also benefit from the renewed focus on upgrading China’s domestic medical equipment industry.
Policy name: Medical Equipment Industry Development Plan (2021-2025) (Draft for Comments) (医疗装备产业发展规划（2021-2025年）（征求意见稿) (Link)
Issuing body: MIIT
Date: February 9, 2021