The Chinese healthcare sector, which accounted for 6 percent of the country’s GDP in 2016, is expected to capture a 10 percent share in the coming years. Racing to establish a modern system of coverage, services, and products to accommodate the world’s largest population and fastest growing economy, China faces a number of development challenges. As China increasingly makes use of foreign products, services, and expertise to accomplish its reform goals, foreign companies are in a position to advance China’s reform goals in the healthcare sector, if allowed market access.
Although China’s development goals are broad, the recent release of several sector-specific 13th Five-Year Plans (13FYPs) outline priority themes and targets for China’s healthcare reform through 2020. Seeking to expand the quality and reach of nationwide healthcare while controlling cost, the government crafted a variety of FYPs that promote innovation, R&D, and entrepreneurship; improve healthcare, hospital, and insurance systems; tackle societal health challenges; and build stronger citizen awareness around health issues.
These plans, which serve as a broad overview of China’s evolving healthcare sector, offer scant details on how foreign companies can contribute to China’s healthcare industry. Instead, foreign companies must continue to reference China’s Catalog on Guiding Foreign Investment (CGFI) and Catalog on Encouraged Imported Technology and Products, as well as specific policies portending national strategy for pharmaceutical and medical device sector development. While foreign technology could contribute to specific reform goals, these catalogs and policies are a guide to market restrictions for foreign firms.
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