Rapid Growth Expected in the Chinese Spinal Implant Market
Approximately 50% of open corrective spinal surgery in China accounted for just under 25% of corrective spinal device sales revenues in 2013, reports iData Research
According to spinal implant market data released by iData Research, the open surgery spinal implant market in China is projected to be worth over $1 billion by 2019. While DePuy Synthes and Medtronic compete for this market’s top position, domestic competitors collectively threaten both companies by driving down selling prices. Local Chinese medical device providers do not face the same production and distribution costs that international superpowers like DePuy Synthes and Medtronic have to handle.
“Not all, but many local Chinese competitors in this market imitate imported device designs, despite patent laws,” explains Dr. Kamran Zamanian, CEO of iData. “These sell for a fraction of the cost of their imported equivalents and ultimately hold back the overall market value.” For more complex and dangerous spinal implant surgeries, Chinese surgeons tend to favor official DePuy Synthes and Medtronic products.
Other key findings from the iData Research report entitled Chinese and Taiwanese Markets for Spinal Implants:
- Domestic Preferences for Degenerative Disease Treatment: Out of the total number of thoracolumbar spinal implant procedures performed in China, 75% were for the treatment of degenerative diseases. Domestically manufactured products are chosen frequently for the treatment of this type of indication, as it tends to involve a less complicated procedure.
- Better Health Insurance Coverage: Not only are more Chinese citizens being covered by health insurance, but also more of them are expecting proper medical treatment. This cultural shift, combined with economic development, is one of the main drivers of the Chinese spinal implant market.
- Potential Loss in Consumer Confidence: Domestically produced spinal implants that imitate the designs of global market leaders may not be held to as high production standards. If an increased rate of surgical complication becomes apparent, especially in the delicate spinal region, consumers may lose confidence in all corrective spinal surgery products.
As a counter-measure, companies like Medtronic are starting to change their market strategy. The largest local competitor in China is Wei Gao; in 2007, Medtronic purchased 15% equity in this company. Then, in 2012, Medtronic acquired KangHui Holdings, a Chinese orthopedics company, for $816 million. The acquisition of KangHui specifically allows Medtronic to produce and sell lower-end products, which are in high demand in China. Other competitors in the Chinese spinal implant market include Stryker, Zimmer, B. Braun Aesculap, LDR, Paradigm Spine and Alphatec Spine.
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