Among the seminars featured at this year’s meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (Washington, DC) was the seventh annual market briefing on global issues in the IVD industry. Cosponsored by IVD Technology, this year’s briefing focused on two emerging IVD markets that are projected to have great potential in the future: China and Eastern Europe. In their presentations, the speakers discussed recent developments that shed some light on the current opportunities and challenges in these markets.
Japan has always been the predominant IVD market in Asia, accounting for about 10% of all industry sales. But while Japan’s market will likely remain strong, many industry watchers expect that China’s market may soon grow to nearly equal size. Even though China is a powerful economic force in various consumer and low-tech areas, it has mostly been a subdued giant in the IVD arena. However, this giant has started making some noise and is expected to make even more noise in the coming years.
According to speaker James J. Ho, MD, PhD, president of Lawke Health International Ltd. (Beijing), the IVD market in China last year generated revenues totaling $700 million. During the next few years, Ho believes this market could see explosive growth and reach an annual growth rate of more than 20%.
Ho added that last year’s severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic was a major wake-up call for Chinese health authorities. SARS exposed how unprepared China was for such an outbreak. As a result, the Chinese government now recognizes the importance of IVDs and has begun developing strategies to improve China’s clinical testing capabilities.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has also undergone some significant changes during the past year. In May, the EU was expanded through the addition of 10 new member states, many of which are located in Central and Eastern Europe. By officially joining the EU, the new members broaden the market opportunities in Europe for IVD manufacturers.
However, manufacturers should keep in mind that the new member states currently represent only a small portion of the European IVD market. Speaking at the market briefing, Detlef Sasse, director of European operations at Beckman Coulter Inc. (Fullerton, CA), cautioned that “investment in the new members needs to be considered an incremental investment,” with the potential for long-term returns at higher growth rates than some other European markets.
At present, the emerging markets discussed at the briefing may not be on many IVD manufacturers’ radar screens. Nonetheless, manufacturers should pay attention to what happens in these markets—especially in China, and in certain new EU member states such as Poland. Such countries may very well emerge to become major IVD markets in the not-too-distant future.
Copyright ©2004 IVD Technology