Business Monitor International

Understanding China's Regional Healthcare Markets

Published 01 May 2014

  • 193 pages
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Understanding China's Regional Healthcare Markets

BMI View: As the world's most populous country gradually shifts towards universal healthcar e, many commercial players ( pharmaceutic al firms, healthcare providers and medical device manufacturers amongst others ) will benefit from healthcare reform . H ealthy economic growth, a growing middle class population and high wages are helping to fuel the development of the private healthcare sector . However, rising medical costs and disparate access to healthcare services remain Chinese peoples' main concerns , and the government will gradually address these issues.

Since the start of the healthcare reform programme in 2009, China has progressively improved healthcare standards and introduced various policies to strengthen the link between healthcare, healthcare insurance and pharmaceutical provision; enhance public healthcare services; further develop medical care to benefit patients; boost the morale of medical professionals by improving working conditions, particularly in rural and remote regions; speed up public healthcare reform; further reduce foreign ownership restrictions in joint venture medical institutions; improve regulation of the pharmaceutical supply chain; and crack down on illegal activities to prevent drug price escalation. During the State Council executive meeting held on March 25 2014, China's Premier Li Keqiang reiterated these aims and announced that healthcare reform remains a core component of the country's economic development plan.

Many commercial will benefit from China's healthcare reforms. The central government plans to increase health expenditure to 6.5-7.0% of GDP by 2020 to achieve 10 targets. These include improving a number of key health indicators: increase average life expectancy to 77 years, reduce the mortality rate in children under five to 13%, reduce the maternal mortality ratio to 20/10,000,000, establish a comprehensive and equitable medical and healthcare system and enhance the country's disease...

Any assessment of China must consider the huge variations to be found in such a populous and geographically diverse country.

  • How is the population distributed? How is healthcare delivered?
  • Health funding: Who pays, who gets?
  • What are the real effects of the urban/rural divide on health provision?
  • Which regions are better provided for and which still need investment?

Identifying opportunities in China’s rapidly expanding health economy requires detailed knowledge of the economic performance and health infrastructure at a regional level. Being able to see that in the context of neighbouring provinces and the national picture, brings focus to areas of opportunity.

Rich in statistics and charts, this new report from Espicom, Understanding Regional Chinese Health Marketsis the first in a series on major markets; taking you further into understanding the dynamic Chinese regional health environments.

China represents 31 discrete regional markets, each with provision and needs...

China has been a focus of interest for international business for such a long time now that it has become easy to assess markets and economic performance in national terms. Even the much discussed and fast developing urban areas such as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin are representative of only a fraction of the widely diverse regional markets to be found elsewhere in the country.

Urban vs. Rural
Understanding the urban/rural divide in China is critical. The number of cities with over a million inhabitants is significant in every province, with migration from rural areas driven by the boom in manufacturing. The economic strength of cities over rural areas has led to an imbalance of health provision; an imbalance the Chinese government is keen to correct through mechanisms such as the New Co-operative Medical System.

This new report provides a new level of market detail
Understanding Regional Chinese Health Markets lets you drill down into the Chinese regional markets to make a practical evaluation of opportunity and risk. Whether you are active in China already just considering the commercial potential, this fascinating report is a must-have resource “to fully understand” the variable regional market environments in China.

A case in point – Anhui Province: The rural challenge
Anhui Province has 61.3 million people - 4.6% of the national population. The capital and largest city is Hefei, with a population of around 3.4 million and other major cities include Huainan (1.9 million), Huangshan (1.5 million) and Ma’anshan (1.4 million). The province is largely agricultural, with 35.5 million people classed as rural. Anhui has one of the lowest GDP per capita rates in the country and in 2009, it had a GDP of US$147.3 billion, equal to 2.8% of national GDP.

Anhui has below average rates of hospital beds, physicians and nurses, which can be attributed to the province’s low GDP per capita rate and large rural population. Health is delivered via a bewildering array of services including 17,788 village clinics, 1,714 health centres and 710 hospitals, of which 489 are general and 125 are specialist facilities.

Anhui is lacking in terms of healthcare workforce, with below national average rates for physicians (1.0 per ‘000) and nurses (1.1 per ‘000). However, the rural nature of the province is reflected in the higher than national average rate of village doctors, at 0.9 per ‘000 population.

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