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CS Market Research

CS Market Research

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Published by Timothy Kooi

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Published by: Timothy Kooi on Oct 24, 2011
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CS Market ResearchThe Dental Equipment Market Overview in China
By Shuyu Sun, Seth PierrepontSeptember 20, 2005
Summary
There has always been a shortage of manpower, materials and financial resources fordental care in China. As many Chinese are paying increasing attention to their appearance andhealth in the wake of their increased living standards, the demand for up-to-date dental servicesis growing.
Of China’s 1.3 billion plus people, 50 percent of the adults and 70 percent of thechildren have decayed tooth problems, and over 90 percent of the people have periodontaldisease. According to the Ministry of Health, there are approximately 38,000 registered dentistsand 34 dental schools; the proportion of dentists to the population is only 1:33,000, comparedwith 1:4,000 in developed countries (1:1,600 in America; 1:800 in Sweden). As a result, in thenext 10-20 years, China needs to construct 10 times the number of current dental hospitals tokeep its figures internationally competitive and also, more importantly, to provide the Chinesepeople with dental treatment and protection. Although there is no solid data about the currentmarket size of dental equipment, according to a source from the State Food and DrugAdministration (SFDA), China has witnessed a steady growth in this market sub-sector over thepast 20 years and the current market size is estimated around US$150 million.
Market Overview
The economic growth achieved over the last 20 years since China’s reform and open doorpolicy has substantially enhanced people’s living standards, particularly in metropolitan areasand coastal regions. With the increase of people’s income coupled with efforts by thegovernment, healthcare institutions, and businesses, the demand has been growing for oralhealthcare services and products. As a result, the demand for new and high-tech dentalequipment is also growing.Apart from the enhancement of people’s awareness of oral health care and increasedincome, the increase of special dental hospitals or clinics has also contributed the growingdemand for dental equipment. According to the China Stomatological Association, China’sspecial oral hospitals or clinics have reached over 10,000, and in Beijing alone there are about1,200. All the new hospitals and clinics need to be equipped with basic or high-end dentalequipment in order to provide quality service and treatment. The older ones will also need theirequipment updated in order to remain competitive. As the standards of the Chinese dentalindustry rise so does the demand for dental equipment.With the opening of Chinese markets, virtually all kinds of dental equipment and devices,from low to high-end models, can be found in the country. The expansion of trade shows alsoserves as evidence of the growth of China’s dental market. The 10
th
annual Sino-Dental 2005,generally believed to be the largest international dental show in Asia, drew more than 500international exhibitors from 20 different countries including Austria, Finland, France, Germany,Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and the U.S. For the past 10 years this show hasplayed an active role in introducing foreign advanced technologies, reinforcing the academic
 
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exchange and cooperation in Chinese dental health services, and encouraging the technicalprogress and service level. It has witnessed the prosperity of Chinese dental health services, andmade great contributions to the development in the dental technicians qualities, service levelsand scientific management levels. C
hina’s domestic dental equipment industry is still in its infancy and, for the most part,has only been able to provide low-end equipment and products. In the past, the China dentalmarket has offered low and medium-priced products. With the change of the market and the fasttechnical development, many Chinese firms are starting to focus on higher-end models. Onegood example that illustrates this market shift is dental chairs. China did not start manufacturingdental chairs until the early 1980s, but now there are already more than 20 local brands, withmore and more domestic companies entering the high-end market of fully computerized dentalunits. However, as independents or as joint ventures, foreign companies have essentially createdand dominated the high-end sub-market within the China dental market. Domestic competitionis not yet an immediate threat in this high-end market, but domestic companies remaincompetitive on a Less for Less platform, drawing dental clinics with limited resources to them.Localization also seems to be the general trend for companies with a long-term strategy in thismarket.U.S. companies interested in selling dental equipment in China are required to do testingand then apply the registration certificate from China’s State Food and Drug Administration(SFDA). Companies already active in the market note that because of the attraction of futureprofits and general economic boom of the last few years, competition in the dental productsarena has substantially intensified. In fact, ever intensifying competition and slower pacedmarket expansion have made it unrealistic to expect quick returns on investment according tosome long time industry insiders. Companies new to the market need to adopt long-termstrategies in the gradually evolving marketplace.Currently, the biggest problems facing the Chinese government in terms of anyhealthcare service delivery is the over concentration of resources, and the dental sector is noexception. In general, healthcare resources are concentrated in metropolitan areas and coastalregions. In the large cities quality services are concentrated in a small number of prominentlarge hospitals. Services are lacking in the vast rural areas, remote areas, suburbs of the bigcities, and local communities in big cities. Consequently, the big hospitals in big cities havealways been overcrowded, and fall far short of capacity to serve a drastically increasing patientflow.Compounding the problem is the fact that good hospitals do not have much authority toexpand their services because, as government hospitals, the major decision-making power toexpand lies somewhere higher. The difficulty in gaining access to even the most basic dentalservice is a major factor inhibiting demand for oral health service. As a result, most people donot take the pains to see a doctor until their problems are very serious. Understandably then,periodic cleaning and checkups are rare. As the aforementioned national survey results show,the major reasons for seeing a dentist are to fill caries, pull out decayed teeth and put in artificialteeth. Only 35.7% of the 140,000 people surveyed in 11 provinces and cities had seen dentistswithin the last two years, despite the serious problems that exist within every age group.The government has now realized the problem with the allocation of healthcare resourcesand is attempting to reform the situation. In the cities, community healthcare networkconstruction is being emphasized, and in the rural areas, efforts are also being made to enhance
 
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peasant access to basic healthcare services. These are all positive factors for the futureexpansion of the dental products market.In conjunction with Chinese government efforts to reallocate healthcare resources,possible government actions to allow more private practice for dentists will be a huge boostingfactor for dental healthcare products. Although, the number is still very small and quality vastlyuneven, some private dentist clinics have offered considerable advantages over governmenthospital dental departments and specialized hospitals with flexible time and better equipment andservices. The drawbacks include the clinics not being incorporated into the governmenthealthcare programs and not being covered by insurance in the near future. This, together withexisting problems in some private clinics, like quality of service and over-charging, inhibits thegrowth of private dental clinics. Right now, private practicing dentists are more often found inthe south than in Beijing, where this development is still tightly controlled. Given the large needto improve access to oral health care, any government move to loosen control over privatepractice and any significant enhancement of service quality in private practice clinics will causeasurge of demand for oral health care.As a result of the deregulation of dental services, some dental laboratories specializing inprocessing artificial teeth have started to emerge especially in the Guangzhou, Shenzhen andShanghai. This positive trend is expected to continue as the government effort to developcommunity healthcare networks spreads to other areas. This development is generally believedto bode well for the dental products suppliers.List of Dental Equipments Covered in this ReportH.S. CodeName of Commodity9018.4100 Dental drill engines & parts9018.4910 Dentists’ chairs incorporating dental equipment9018.4990 Other, including dental hand instruments, appliances, parts and accessories9022.1300 Apparatus based on the use of X-rays for dental uses9022.2100 Apparatus based on the use of alpha, beta or gamma radiation medical,dental uses or veterinary uses
Competitive Situation
Domestic ProductionThe growth of the domestic dental industry has been substantial in the past several years.There are currently over 100 domestic dental product manufacturers in China, mainlyconcentrating on the low and medium-tier markets. Domestic production is believed to accountfor 40% to 50% of the total $150 million market volume. Annual domestic output amounts to

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