Home About Qualtech NEWS MARKET INSIGHT: Study on China's Radiology Equipment Market and the Relevant Policies – August 2019
MARKET INSIGHT: Study on China's Radiology Equipment Market and the Relevant Policies – August 2019

August 12, 2019

In recent years, the Chinese have begun to attach greater importance to health examinations, while the national medical insurance has also gradually adopted medical treatments such as radiology diagnosis and radiation therapy. This in turn has led to a continuous increase in the scale of the radiology market. On other hand, the government has frequently adjusted the medical system in recent years, causing the market to be in a constant state of change. In this article, we will therefore summarize the relevant policies on the radiology market in order to contribute to our readers’ understanding of the Chinese market.

I. The Market Scale:

Different from other market reports, we have divided the radiology sector into the following three areas, namely “the radiation diagnosis field", “the radiation therapy field" and “the nuclear medicine field". The market size of each of these fields are presented below respectively:

1. Radiation diagnosis: From 2015 to 2017, the market for imaging diagnostic equipment increased from 36.6 billion RMB to 49.9 billion RMB. At the same time, the growth rate remained above 16%. In 2017, X-ray equipment accounted for 33.6% of the imaging diagnostic equipment, CT equipment represented 22.1%, MR equipment amounted to 15.6%, ultrasound equipment accounted for 16.5%, and DSA equipment took 5.7%. The main imported brands into China in this regard include GE, Philips, Siemens, Shimadzu, Sharp, and Canon.

2. Radiation therapy: From 2015 to 2017, the market size of radiotherapy equipment in China fluctuated greatly. This effect can be attributed to the cause of high prices for proton therapy equipment, and the great variation in annual demand. In 2015, the market for radiotherapy equipment was at 11.772 billion RMB, while the amount had sharply decreased by the year 2017, during which the market size shrunk to 4.112 billion RMB. To split up the market distribution even further, Varian's market share at that time amounted to 43.4%, Elekta was at 9.1%, OUR claimed a 4.6% market share, Acrel was at 3.9%, Shinva Medical accounted for 2.1%, Neusoft Medical was at 1.3%, and others jointly made up 35.6%.

3. Nuclear medicine: In 2015-2017, the market for imaging diagnostic equipment increased from 36.6 billion to 49.9 billion RMB, and nuclear medicine equipment accounted for 3.9%. As of March 2018, the market share of major companies was distributed as follows: General Electric was at 49.3%, Siemens claimed 34.2%, Philips’ market share amounted to 11.0%, Canon was at 2.1%, and others jointly reached 3.4%.

II. Special Policies – The Large-Scale Medical Device Configuration License

The China government issued the "Large-Scale Medical Device Configuration License" to regulate the listing of large instruments on the market. Each year, the China government proposes subsidy policies or importation control regulations based on hospitals’ conditions. It is thus recommended that the relevant manufacturers are aware about whether their products are listed in the license or device category.

Large medical devices are divide into two categories regarding the configuration license:

(1) Category A (the National Health Committee is responsible for the configuration)

- 1) Heavy ion radiation therapy systems   

- 2) Proton radiation therapy systems   

- 3) Positron emission tomography type/magnetic resonance imaging systems (abbreviated as PET/MR)

- 4) High-end radiation therapy equipment.  

- 5) Large-scale medical equipment with a price of 30 million RMB (4 million US dollars) or more for a single configuration (set).

(2) Category B (the Provincial Health Commission is responsible for the configuration)

- 1) X-ray positron emission tomography scanners (Abbreviation is PET/CT)  

- 2) Endoscopic surgical instrument control systems (surgical robot)

- 3) 64-row (and above) X-ray computed tomography scanners (64 rows and above CT)

- 4) 1.5T and above magnetic resonance imaging system (1.5T and above MR)  

- 5) Linear accelerator (including X-knife, excluding radiotherapy equipment listed in the Category A management catalog)

- 6) Gamma-ray stereotactic radiotherapy systems (includes head as well as for body)   

- 7) Large-scale medical equipment with a price of 1,000 to 30 million yuan for a single unit (set) for the first time.

III. The Rise of Third-Party Imaging Centers

In 2017, China government passed relevant regulations to allow private companies to set up 10 types of independent medical institutions, including but not limited to the purposes of inspections, imaging, rehabilitation, and physical examinations. This was done in an attempt to reduce the burden on public hospitals. In order to ensure that the imaging center would have appropriate capabilities in image diagnostics, the "Basic Standards and Management Specifications for Medical Imaging Diagnostic Centers" was issued in the same year. The standard ultimately aims at standardizing the basic equipment configuration of the imaging centers, including digital X-ray photography systems, CT systems, and MRI equipment.

The vendors of third-party imaging centers can be divided into three main categories: equipment suppliers, agents, and medical service providers. Leading manufacturers of large equipment; such as Siemens has cooperated with well-known local medical service providers to build medical imaging centers and imaging platforms in various locations. Other importers need to be assisted by agents to cooperate with relevant medical service institutions, which ultimately reduces the speed of the market expansion.

Despite these implemented measures, compared to the nearly 7000 imaging centers that were present in the US at the end of 2018, China has only established less than 400 imaging centers. This comparison hence clearly indicates that there is still much room for development in the Chinese medical imaging market for the near future, which is definitely something to look forward to.

IV. The Reforms of the Medical Policies Stimulates the Large-Scale Medical Equipment Market

The China government has been continuously reforming the medical system in the past five years, seeking to cover the entirety of the medical system as much as possible. Since 2015, the Chinese authorities have promoted grading diagnosis and treatment, reformed the system of county-level public hospitals and communities, and encouraged each city to have shared image center and inspection center resources. In 2017, the China government reduced the cost of large-scale imaging equipment inspections (CT/MRI) by 10% to 20% through subsidies for medical insurance, which also further drove the market demand for large-scale equipment. In the year 2018, two major events occurred. First, the establishment of the Medical Insurance Bureau made the subsidies for service projects such as diagnostic imaging unsure. Second, the government issued the “National Large-Scale Medical Equipment Configuration Plan for 2018-2020”, encouraging local governments to plan the configuration and subsidies for large medical instrument.

At present, China's diagnostic imaging market is mainly dominated by GPS - General Electric, Philips and Siemens. There are also many Chinese companies such as Lian Ying, Cape and other well-known manufacturers to capture the low-end equipment market. At the end, the question remains whether other foreign companies will be able to gain a slice of the Chinese market? Perhaps a breakthrough in the new blue ocean of diagnostic imaging – telemedicine and artificial intelligence diagnosis – represents a feasible course and promising opportunity. China's vast territory and insufficient medical staff have; in fact, created an increasing market demand for telemedicine. In addition, the China government hopes to use artificial intelligence to assist doctors in primary hospitals to improve the medical conditions of the population.

QUALTECH has a vast number of experiences in clinical trials and registrations of radiology equipment, such as electronic linear accelerators, proton therapy systems, X-ray panel detectors, X-ray diagnostic equipment, and X-ray computed tomography systems. Thus, feel free to consult us for the relevant market access strategy.



1) Medical Imaging Analysis Report (医学影象分析报告) 

*Source is only available in Chinese language.

2) Chinese Medical Device Industry Development Report (2018)
*Source is only available in Chinese language.

3) China’s Medical News (中国医药报)  
*Source is only available in Chinese language.

4) China Association for Medical Devices Industry (中国医疗器械行业协会)

*Source is only available in Chinese language.


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Home About Qualtech NEWS MARKET INSIGHT: Study on China's Radiology Equipment Market and the Relevant Policies – August 2019