By William Wang
In recent years, the Chinese healthcare industry has attracted the attention of global investors. Driven by the burden of an aging population larger than any other country in the world, Chinese healthcare companies are looking for biotechnical breakthroughs to care for the elderly.
There are a variety of factors that lead private investors to believer China one day will rival the U.S. in the global healthcare market. Besides the urgent need for increasingly advanced healthcare in the country, the level of expertise in the healthcare field in China has never been higher. Government incentives have drawn Chinese scientists that were educated in America back home, reversing the brain drain that had plagued the country in past years. Meanwhile, China’s population of one billion people is a large source of genomic information that companies can tap into to understand more about how to prevent illnesses.
China’s aggressiveness in the genomic market has been profound. A year after former US President Barack Obama announced a $215 million initiative to sequence the genomes of 1 million Americans to provide greater insight in illnesses, China announced in March of 2016 that it would undergo a similar initiative with a budget of around $9.2 billion.
Investors have noticed the potential of China’s healthcare market. iCarbonX, one of China’s leading healthcare companies that looks to personalize healthcare, has already attracted $600 million in investment despite having been only found in 2015. Meanwhile, UBS Asia-Pacific equity analyst Carl Berrisford estimated that venture and private equity capital in Chinese health sciences has grown nine-fold.
These signs all support the narrative that China’s healthcare industry is on the rise. Increased government support, a thriving private industry, a growing number of educated scientists, and a pressing need for innovation has global investors excited for the possibilities of China and its healthcare industry.