China's medical and healthcare industry received $3.52 billion from venture capital and private equity investors in the first three quarters of this year, 2.7 times the $1.3 billion recorded for the whole of 2010, according to a report released by Zero2IPO at the China Healthcare Investment and Financing Summit 2011.

"This is a sunrise industry," argued Ni Zhengdong, chairman of Zero2IPO, a consultancy specializing in venture capital funding. "The value of medical apparatus output has grown 25% annually," Ni said, "and more than 10 firms with healthcare backgrounds have gone public so far this year on ChiNext, China's NASDAQ."

"The recent healthcare reforms that started in 2009 have prompted numerous business and investment opportunities, with the majority taking place in the medical drugs and biomedical segment markets," Xu Xiaolin, manager of CCB International Wealth Management Co, said at the summit. "Investment will focus on healthcare services, traditional Chinese medicine and medical equipment in the future," Xu added.

China's biomedical sector is rapidly narrowing the gap with overseas peers in more developed countries. According to IDG partner Zhang Suyang, biomedical research and development has fewer bumpy roads ahead of it than many of China's other burgeoning high-tech sectors, notably the photovoltaic industry.

The new healthcare policy covers 90% of China's population, but medical resources are significantly unbalanced between regions and services accessible to rural residents still remain vastly inferior to those available to urban dwellers, especially in China's largest cities.

 

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