Korean Medical Equipment Competes Well in Europe and Latin America

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryWith the global medical device market projected to grow at an annual average rate of 5.1%, exports of Korean medical devices, which are one of Korea’s main export items, spiked 13.6% over the previous year. In particular, Europe and Latin America where import demand is high are emerging as leading players in advanced and emerging markets.

According to KOTRA’s reports titled “Trends and Opportunities in the European Medical Device Market” and “Trends in the Latin American Medical Device Market and Strategies for Korean Companies”, the European medical device market in 2016 was worth US$ 110 billion, accounting for 28% of the world medical device market and placing second in the world. In terms of imports, Europe is the largest import market of medical devices and Europe accounts for approximately 47% of global medical device imports.

Over the past five years, Exports of medical devices expanded 21.4% to Western Europe and 15.7% to Central and Eastern Europe and these spikes are attributed to rapidly aging populations and the modernization of hospital facilities. Korea’s exports of medical devices to Europe grew 5.8% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017. They grew explosively in Ireland (335.1%), Finland (110.9%) and Belgium (96.1%).

Europe has different market characteristics such as economic power and medical technology level by region. There is a great demand for dental devices in the Middle East and Eastern Europe where dental tourism has developed. In particular, Hungary’s imports of Korean dental implants surged 182.6% over the past two years. On the other hand, in Italy and Austria, Korea’s ultrasound imaging systems are well recognized and are holding the top position in terms of import market shares.

The Latin American medical equipment market is expected to grow 8.4% over the next five years, running to US$12.2 billion in 2016. Korea’s medical equipment exports to Latin America expanded more than 9% year on year to about US$100 million in the third quarter of 2017 with those to Argentina and Mexico surging 50% and 20%, respectively.

The export of Korean medical devices to Latin America is led by ultrasonic and electronic imaging devices and medical x-ray devices. In particular, company B, a dental X-ray company, achieved a 25% share of the digital X-ray market within five years after its establishment with its high technology and partnerships with a number of Mexican distributors. In addition, due to the characteristics of the Latin American market, where 60% of the population is overweight, portable blood pressure and blood sugar measuring devices, which can diagnose chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, will be in high demand.

In the case of Central and South America, the process of acquiring medical device certification is complex and takes a long time, so it is necessary to make thorough preparations using local agents. In addition, Korean medical equipment companies need strategies to secure price competitiveness by actively utilizing Korea’s FTAs with Chile, Colombia, and Peru and complement relatively weak local after-sales service networks.

“Korean medical equipment companies are making forays into Europe and Latin America thanks to stronger competitiveness of the Korean medical equipment industry which has grown into the world’s ninth largest,” commented Yun Won-seak, head of the Information and Commerce Cooperation Headquarters at KOTRA.

Yun also suggested the direction for Korea’s medical equipment exports, saying, “It is necessary to customize export marketing by countries, demand, and sales channels mainly for promising items such as advanced medical devices that combine the needs of an aging society and ICT technologies such as ultrasonic diagnosis and dental equipment.”

korean-electronics.com | Blog Magazine of korean electronics, brands and Goods

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