This story in the FT caught this Bystander’s eye: Philips is set to announce a seven-year research agreement with West China Hospital aimed to help doctors better interpret medical imagery in diagnosing heart disease, strokes and mental illness. It will be the first such project by a multinational in the country, according to the FT.
West China is one of the largest hospitals in the world, with 4,300 beds and 2m outpatients. It is that sheer size that is attractive to the Dutch firm which is the third largest producer of medical imaging equipment. It provides a statistically significant pool of patients. The more data there is to crunch, the better can be made the algorithms that extract meaning from it.
Medical imaging has been a growing market for multinationals as the government has pushed health care modernization and hospital privatization. The SARS outbreak in 2003 also spurred the market. As well as Philips, the obvious suspects, General Electric, Siemens, Toshiba and Hitachi, are all active.
The next five-year plan puts more focus on rural medical treatment. That should open a new market for diagnostic imaging equipment manufacturers but one that may be more attractive to the smaller scale domestic companies like Analogic and Weida.