India fertile market for medical equipment

Monday, 29 March 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Chinese, British and Pakistani manufacturers of medical equipment are keenly eyeing India not only as a potential market but also for setting up joint ventures.

"With Western markets quite saturated for medical equipment, there is substantial interest in India and China as potential markets," Dina MacDonald, managing director of Britain-based based medical equipment manufacturer Kinex Log, told IANS.

"In turn, leading Chinese companies are eagerly looking at India for collaboration, network and professional exchanges," she added.

To tap this potential, the company is organising a three-day medical health expo Medicare India 2004 here April 6-8 with the largest participation coming from Chinese companies followed by Belgian and British firms.

Some 100 exhibitors from 21 countries will take part in the exhibition.

As India positions itself as a medical tourism destination, there is interest among European and Chinese firms to participate in the entire healthcare spectrum, said MacDonald.

"There are obvious parallels between the Chinese and Indian markets in terms of size and growth. As such, companies that have been successful domestically are now looking at India as a massive opportunity," said Lisa Dai of Consultac, who is heading a delegation of 12 Chinese companies.

"With the huge surge in private sector investment and development and continuing commitment from the government, Chinese companies realise that early exposure at events like Medicare will help ensure long-term success in marketing their products and services," she added.

Chinese exhibitors at Medicare will offer a variety of products and services. The participants include medical equipment and instrument manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare product suppliers, appliance factories and import-export agencies and many more.

"Since India is such a massive market offering many encouraging investment opportunities, some firms are looking to appoint distributors for their products, while some are looking for long-term joint ventures, collaborations and tie ups with local firms. Some are even considering the possibility of setting up manufacturing and distribution plants in India," said Dai.

"Whatever the individual aims of the exhibitors, they are all looking at India as a long-term commitment," she added.

Also participating is the Sialkot-based Hilbro Group, the largest Pakistani medical equipment manufacturer.

There are no collaborations or tie-ups between Pakistani and Indian equipment manufacturers, but now this is likely to change, feels Tahir Safder of Hilbro.

"India is a big market for healthcare products. Even though no business is being done presently, we are positive about the market response," added Safder.

"India certainly is on the road to becoming one of the world's largest and most preferred medical tourism destinations - like Singapore is," Safder said.

He is optimistic that India stands a bright chance of attracting more Pakistani patients like Noor, the baby girl who successfully underwent a heart operation in India last year soon after the thaw between the two countries.

Source: IANS
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