Study: China’s biopharmaceutical industry will enjoy rapid growth

China is expected to invest in combined pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical R&D spending massively until 2023, according to a research conducted by SCMP Research. 

South China Morning Post has released its inaugural "China Healthcare Report" which examines industry innovations and trends that will impact the global market, as well as ambitious reforms that will reshape China’s domestic healthcare market.

China’s healthcare industry currently leads the world in double-digit growth and has an outsized impact on the global healthcare market as the second-largest healthcare market by expenditure - US$3.5 trillion in 2018. 

According to the report, China's combined pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical R&D spending is forecast to grow at a 23% compound annual rate until 2023, when it will reach US$49 billion, accounting for 23% of the world's total spending on drug discovery and testing.

Meanwhile, biopharmaceutical sales in China have more than doubled since 2016 and are projected to reach almost $50 billion by 2021. China's capacity to create best-in-class drugs could rival that of the US and Europe before 2030.

In Q1 2020, Chinese medical supplies accounted for US$10 billion or 2.6% of the total exports. The government’s "Made in China 2025" strategic plan calls for a greater focus on innovation to bring manufacturing up the value chain for high-tech medical devices, making global manufacturing tech giants tap into medical devices and equipment.

The report also highlights China's dominance in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) global exports. China manufactures 40% of APIs used worldwide and is a leading supplier of basic chemicals to the global pharmaceutical industry, worth US$54 billion in 2018.

Lastly, the current COVID-19 pandemic prompts China's foray into health-technology. There have been a significant increase in diagnoses and jump in prescriptions on online healthcare platforms, and accelerated the adoption of AI in CT scans, algorithms for COVID-19 detection in genomic sequencing, and AI-based research platforms for vaccines.

"China aims to significantly improve its healthcare standards to be on par with those in developed nations by 2030. This will spur innovation in the sector, provide impetus for growth in the global healthcare industry, and catapult Chinese healthcare firms onto the international stage," commented Chow Chung Yan, executive editor of SCMP

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