LISAvienna: A look back at CMEF Spring 2016 in Shanghai

CMEF Spring 2016 was the 75th annual China International Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF). It once again took place in the world’s biggest connected building, the National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai.

From April 17 to 20 2016, the CMEF Spring took place in Shanghai as part of The Health Industry Summit (tHIS). 6,900 organisations from 30 countries presented their products on 330,000 m2 of exhibition space in the Shanghai exhibition centre, which only recently opened in April 2015. Over 216,000 visitors in total attended the tHIS. 11 Austrian companies showcased themselves at the joint booth as part of the WKO’s Go-International Initiative. Another Austrian company presented its products at the booth of its Asian partner. All in all, five Viennese organisations showcased themselves. Domestic companies were best-prepared and understandably also presented their products in Chinese due to the large market. LISAvienna was represented at the Austrian joint stand’s Experts’ Corner to back the companies’ networking, represent the Vienna life science location and to learn more about the Chinese market. After the relatively difficult logistical conditions in 2015 when re-locating the trade show, a lot has improved this year. Arrivals and departures from the trade show functioned significantly better. Many of the exhibitors have adapted themselves to the trade show audience and, whenever possible, had employees from Chinese branch offices or at least booth personnel with Chinese language knowledge work the booths. The trade show’s dominant language of negotiation was, without a doubt, Mandarin.

China heavily invests in its country’s healthcare reform. 95% of the Chinese population currently has health insurance. However, it is often the case that only basic care is covered. Costs for implants or similar high-tech products are hardly covered by insurance.

It is estimated that healthcare expenditures in China will reach 1 billion US dollars in 2020. At the network reception at the Shanghai Foreign Trade Office, Urs Mattes, general manager of the Mathys (Shanghai) Medical Device Trading CO. Ltd, gave an insight into his years of experience in the Chinese medical technology market. He does not yet see China as a future market for high-tech products. The Chinese market only constitutes 2% of worldwide prosthesis sales, although China makes up 19% of the world’s population. He emphasised that a market entry in China must be well-planned for the long term and warns against merely “testing the waters” in the Chinese market. Tests and examinations that have already been performed in Europe must often be repeated, partly in non-certified Chinese laboratories.

The largest healthcare trade show in the world will also play an important role for the medical technology sector in the future. The CMEF is certainly the most important trade show in China for all companies with long-term strategies. Furthermore, documents must continue to be well-prepared and translated for exhibition at the trade show, and Chinese-speaking booth personnel must be used.

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