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Spurred by health care reforms, Chinese medical PVC compounder expands

By: Steve Toloken

April 22, 2013

SHENZHEN, CHINA — Chinese medical-grade PVC compounder Hopefinder Polymer Science & Technology Co. Ltd. is spending at least 100 million Chinese yuan ($16.2 million) on a new factory in Jiangsu province to meet rapidly growing demand, in part from healthcare reforms in China and the country's aging population.

The first phase of its new compounding facility, in the city of Changzhou, will open late next year with 30,000 metric tons of capacity, more than double the company's current production, said Huang Yimei, vice general manager of the company's Shanghai factory, in an April 17 interview at the China Medical Equipment Fair in Shenzhen.

The second stage in Changzhou will open a year later, in 2015, and will include an additional 20,000 tonnes of capacity, she said. The company currently has 20,000 metric tons of capacity at factories in Shenzhen and Shanghai.

The total investment in Jiangsu, which will include research and development labs, will be 200 million yuan ($32.4 million), Huang said.

Right now the vast majority of the company's PVC compounds are sold to factories in China that ultimately export their products, but that's starting to change as domestic demand grows, Huang said.

In particular, foreign-owned medical device factories in China that are trying to be more competitive in the Chinese domestic market are starting to replace their imported materials with Hopefinder's grades, she said.

The company said its compounds meet international standards such as ISO 10993.

Huang said Hopefinder is benefitting from government plans to substantially boost health care spending in China, including a $125 billion plan to provide a basic level of health care to all its residents and upgrade 2,000 rural hospitals by 2020.

Longer term, the company said it expects both China's healthcare reforms and its aging society to be significant drivers of demand.

As an example, demand for vinyl tubing is rapidly growing after the Chinese government recently began reimbursing hospitals for hemodialysis procedures, said Andrew See, a consultant with Singapore-based Medipro Consultancy and Services. See, who advises Hopefinder, participated in the interview at the company's booth.

China's medical device market grew from $14 billion in 2009 to $23 billion last year, and is projected to hit $38 billion by 2015, for average annual growth of 19 percent, according to data from the China Association for Medical Device Industry presented at a conference during the CMEF trade fair, which was held from April 17 to April 20.

Company executives also said they hope to increase direct exports with the new facility.