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Like all other sectors, the medical device markets in South East Asia have been impacted by the downturn of the world economy. Most of these countries, which rely heavily on exports as a significant portion of their respective GDP - South Korea and Singapore being prime examples - saw cuts in demand for manufactured goods and most have seen dips in overall GDP for 2009. Economic conditions have however started to gradually improve, and GDP growth has been positive in 2010 and is projected to continue in 2011.
The economy aside, what factors are affecting medical device growth?
Fundamentally, the eight countries covered in this collection share a similar characteristic. These medical device markets have, on average, been growing at more attractive rates compared to the more developed, mature medical device markets in Western Europe, for example.
Broadly speaking, the high growth rates for this region have been spearheaded by a number of similar and distinct factors. All countries in this report collection have experienced strong medical devices import growth and steadily rising health expenditure. Medical devices imports, as we have seen in the last economic crisis in 1997, could possibly be affected in the short term, but like before, these countries are expected to bounce back.
The demand for medical devices prior to the current downturn was largely driven by the expansion of the respective healthcare sectors in the region, and Government budget cuts for capital infrastructure may temper growth in the short term. But healthcare development and provision is an increasing political and social priority for nearly all these countries, even the poorer ones like Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines and the prospects for medical devices remains strong.
Other factors driving or impeding the market's growth rate are also taken into account. For example, government cost containment strategies and tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade for medical devices. New dynamics are also affecting the market, such as Vietnam's expansion of health insurance to all citizens by 2014 or the opening up of the notoriously difficult but lucrative South Korean market via Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with the USA and the EU.
Complete quarterly-updated analysis to keep you informed
Now you can easily evaluate these markets with The Outlook for Medical Devices in South East Asia to 2015. Each report provides individual and highly-detailed analysis of the market, looking at the key regulatory, political, economic and corporate developments in the wider context of market structure, service and access.
Malaysia's medical devices and supplies are mainly imported, especially the more technologically advanced items. Espicom estimates current growth in the market to be a strong 9.5% per year in the 2010-2015 period. Malaysia's major natural resource is rubber, and the country's exports are dominated by latex products such as surgical gloves and catheters, which together accounted for around 59.2% of the export total in 2009. The Malaysian government has attempted in recent years to encourage domestic manufacturers to expand production into more technologically advanced products and develop services such as Information and Communications Technology and other support related services. This has been detailed in the Third Industrial Master Plan 2006-2020. In the five years from 2005 - 2009, imports expanded at an attractive CAGR of 10.3%. Imports are expected to continue growing at a strong rate, in line with rising health expenditure growth, and the country's heavy reliance on imports to meet its healthcare needs.
South Korea ranks as one of the world's leading economies, with a population approaching 50 million and overall GDP listed among the top 15 in the world. As a result, much of the population expects a high level of medical care. South Korea has the highest healthcare expenditure of all the 'Asian Tigers', with an estimated 55% funded by the public sector. The government has been forced to implement cost-cutting measures in recent years, owing to a large deficit faced by the healthcare system. Healthcare costs continue to rise, with the country's rapidly aging population adding upward pressure to total spending. In the first half of 2009 for example, senior citizens accounted for 31.7% of costs covered by the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC). South Korea's FTA with the European Union (EU) is being finalised, and this will facilitate increased trade with the easing of tariff and non-tariff barriers between the two parties. Bilateral trade reached US$98.4 billion in 2008. The EU is South Korea's second largest trading partner after China and its largest foreign investor. South Korea is the EU's eighth largest trade partner.
Singapore announced the implementation of its first set of medical device regulations in November 2007, and by October 2010, all medical devices will need to be registered and all dealers (including importers and manufacturers) will have to be licensed. Singapore's export-oriented economy suffered in 2009, but thanks to improving global economic conditions, has started to pick up again in 2010 with increased shipments from abroad and rising domestic consumption. The standard of living in Singapore is comparable to many developed Western nations and, with the exception of Japan, GDP per capita is the highest of all the Asian countries. A universal and affordable healthcare system is evident in Singapore. Both rates for doctors and hospital beds per thousand population are above global averages. The Singapore government provides considerable financial backing to the healthcare industry. Known for a strong and focused industrial policy, the government continues to channel funds into medical and pharmaceutical research, and has vowed to continue investing in this sector despite a slowdown in the economy.
The Thailand medical device market has been undergoing a period of rapid growth, and if fundamentals remain the same, the market looks set to expand at an attractive 9.1% per annum in the medium term. This growth could be somewhat tempered as a result of a global economic downturn, but the percentage point growth rate is still expected to be high by world standards. Market growth is tied to the strength of the United States economy, and the performance of the local currency against the dollar. After a period of slow recovery, imports surpassed the pre-late 90s economic crash for the first time in 2004 and has spiked a further 105.8%. Imports have grown each year between 2001 and 2009, all while the county continued to maintain a steady positive balance of trade. The government has continued to back the universal healthcare system. In April 2009, the government announced it was raising the per capita expenditure budget to 2,400 baht (US$70) per head in fiscal 2010 compared to the rate of 2,202 baht. In overall terms, the government allocation for the scheme totals 112.8 million baht (US$3.3 billion) for 2010.
DETAILED CONTENT FOR EVERY MARKET MARKET OUTLOOK - updated quarterly - Key national data projections - Current market size - Unique 5-year market projections - Market outlook - Market structure Including statistical data on imports and exports - Market access Including distribution and medical device regulation
- Healthcare analysis Including demographics, healthcare system, health expenditure, healthcare infrastructure and personnel
HEALTHCARE DATA - updated annually
A comprehensive tabula review of the market, including economic indicators, demographics, health expenditure, hospital and primary care data, and healthcare personnel.
Details of the medical equipment distributors held in Espicom's database at the time of publication.
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