Skip to main content

China is a desirable partner for European companies in the life sciences and healthcare sector. Key factors like its large population, its powerful market of medical therapies and devices, the major opportunities for the new technologies, the sector's pace of development, and the fact that health is a strategic priority for the Chinese government make this market one of the most attractive for companies working in this industry. 

With the goal of helping companies link up with what is now the second-largest life sciences and healthcare market in the world, in late April Biocat and Catalonia Trade&Investment participated in the 4th edition of the GBA (Greater Bay Area) seminar series in Healthcare, where experiences and success stories in this market were shared. Other European locations in this seminar series are the German clusters Medical Valley, BioCon Valley, BioRN, and BioM, alongside Huangpu’s European office in Heidelberg.

The Huangpu district, the nerve center of the Greater Bay Area, is currently considered one of the most economically powerful regions in the country. The area groups together a huge talent pool, logistical advantages, a support structure for investment, and mature industrial clusters, the ingredients needed for this area encompassing 11 cities to become a “megacity-cluster” devoted to innovation. By 2030, the Greater Bay Area is expected to reach the same GDP as South Korea. 

Montserrat Daban, the Scientific and International Relations Director at Biocat, stressed the value of both the event and the weeks of work by the organizers and startups invited prior to it. This model helps companies in the Catalan ecosystem find the expertise they need to define their entry strategy into China via one of the country's most appealing locations.

Business incubation model in the Chinese health industry

To help companies –especially startups– in their development and launch in the Chinese market, the Guangzhou International Bio-Island incubator was also introduced during the workshop. Located in the Huangpu Hi-tech Park, where currently groups together 500 companies and 10,000 employees. 

As Ray Zhang, Vice-President of the Guangzhou International Bio-Island, explained, the candidates have to submit a viable solution for entering it, and once their proposal has been accepted, a committee comprised of healthcare professionals makes sure that the solution can be properly developed and is useful within the system. 

The case study of Aortyx

Aortyx, the spinoff of the Institut Químic de Sarrià and Hospital Clinic Barcelona which is developing an innovative device to treat aortic dissections in a minimally invasive way that promotes tissue regeneration, has participated as a company that intends to begin operating in the Chinese market in 2027, after seeking regulatory approval in the United States (2025) and Europe (2026). But what would it be like to operate first in China?

In terms of centers focusing on cardiology, the Asian giant has several internationally renowned professionals known as pioneers in cardiac surgery. At the same time, the rate of cardiac illness and the need for aortic surgery is increasing. In just one year, from 2018 to 2019, the number of surgeries of this kind in China rose 30%. 

Furthermore, the procedure to secure the authorization to sell a medical device like the one manufactured by Aortyx in China tends to take approximately 40-51 months (more or less similar to the United States) but costs $1,169,699, much less than in the US. Additionally, there is a fast-track by which solutions that can be classified as innovative can receive this authorization in less time and with fewer bureaucratic hurdles.

In short, a series of indicators and variables makes this Asian country a very promising option for starting the industrialization of the solution by the Catalan startup.


Sign up for our newsletters

Stay up-to-date on the latest news, events and trends in the BioRegion.