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China – A strong growth but not easy to enter OTC and Pharma market

Beautiful China is associated with wonderful landscapes, rich culture and the Great Wall of China. The Chinese culture is known for being one of the oldest cultures which has several thousand years old traditions.  The language, architecture, music, dance, cuisine, business etiquette and history are just a few aspects of what this great country has to offer.
China is considered to be the third largest country in the world with a size of 9,596,961 km² and the country with the most inhabitants – close to 1,4 billion people. The Chinese population represents 20% of the world population.

wongaboo – PA236435

The Chinese New Year is a festivity celebrated in the majority of the south East Asian cultures. In recent years, the festivity has also spread to the western world. The celebration is associated with the lunar calendar. Traditionally, the festival was a time where families honoured ancestors as well as welcoming the New Year. In later years, besides the family gathering and the annual reunion dinner, smaller kids receive money in red paper envelopes as a “good luck fortune”.  Due to the increased globalization and modern way of living, the celebration of the Chinese New Year is one of the few holidays during a year that bring the entire family together.

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Chinese Consumer Health and Pharma market size in focus

The flourishing OTC and pharmaceutical market in China has projected the country on the world map as the largest producer of pharmaceutical ingredients as well as on of the largest pharma markets in the world.  The Chinese pharma market was worth approximately US $122,6 billion in 2017 and is forecasted to be worth between US $155 billion to US $175 billion by 2025. The CAGR reached 9,4% from the period of 2013-2017.

The general health care expenditure has been increasing in the last years.  In addition to this, the majority of the population is under 60 years. Experts predict that China will have a big gap in the upcoming future as the need for more medicines will increase with the big part of the aging population.


Chinese OTC, medical device and pharma industry highlights:

  • The program “Made in China 2025” perceive the pharma industry as one of its targets with the aim to push on innovation and R&D
  • A new reform of pharmaceutical regulatory review and approval is under construction – this will promote the drug application process from domestic and international companies
  • International products are preferred as they are seen to have higher quality than domestic products
  • The healthcare expenditures per capita is increasing and is expected to reach 6,5-7% of GDP by 2020
  • The CFDA (Chinese Food and Drug administration) plans to permit online sales of prescription drugs in upcoming few years

China market outlook and opportunities in healthcare

An aging population, governmental incentive programs and a driven industry make it very attractive for foreign pharmaceutical companies to enter the Chinese market.

International products are of a preference among the Chinese population to buy and the business collaboration culture between western and domestic companies is highly appreciated. This makes China among one of the top countries to focus on in the upcoming years.
On the other hand the market is not very transparent even for experts. The registration process for OTC, Medical Devices and Pharma products is anything but logic or easy. We highly recommend spending enough time in the analysis of the market entry with experts before making decisions.

CPC added Value in China

All our CPC experts have practical experience from developing and launching more than 200 international brands / Rx. products, with P&L country responsibility.

  • During the last 20 years CPC experts have advised many international and Chinese Pharma & OTC companies on Strategy and Marketing matters and Market Entry projects in China and other south East Asian countries.
  • The Systematic Local Partner Search is a unique tool to identify the best fitting Local Partner company for your brands in only 10-12 weeks.
  • We cover all OTC, Rx., medical devices and FS regulatory topics in China and more Asian countries, incl. new product registration, variations or clinical studies.

Featured image: Photo by Theodor Lundqvist on Unsplash


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