Strong growth expected in ASEAN medical device industry

ASEAN's medical device industry is expected to double in value by 2019, reaching a net worth of US$9 billion.

While individual medical device markets across the region are in various stages of development, many countries have experienced double-digit growth over the last few years – and this is set to continue.

Analysis from Pacific Bridge Medical, published by news provider ASEAN Briefing, estimated the value of the region's device manufacturing sector at US$4.6 billion in 2013.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are currently the frontrunners, comprising 65 per cent of the entire ASEAN market. Singapore is also considered a medical and technological hub, with a thriving research and development scene.

However, one hurdle the region must overcome in the future is its reliance on overseas goods.

"As much as 97 per cent of the medical devices consumed in Indonesia in 2013 were imported, mainly from the US, Japan and Europe," ASEAN Briefing stated.

"Nevertheless, momentum is building for local manufacturing to transition towards higher-level products, as foreign companies move into the region to take advantage of the lower costs and rising demand."

Malaysia is already home to the world's biggest rubber glove manufacturer, with the country producing 62 per cent of all rubber globes used globally. The nation also releases 79 per cent of all catheter products onto the market.

In Thailand, medical device growth is due to stay at approximately 13.7 per cent a year until 2018, by which time the market will be worth around US$2.2 billion. According to the figures, compiled by business intelligence firm Epsicom, the sector is currently valued at roughly US$1.2 billion.

Companies looking to channel money into Thailand's medical device industry currently benefit from incentives provided by the country's Board of Investment, which include tax breaks and import duty exemptions on machinery.

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