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New mega medical imaging plant rises

By ZHENG YIRAN and YANG JUN in Guiyang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-25 08:14

Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co Ltd, a company specializing in developing and manufacturing advanced medical products, said it is focusing on its plans to invest 2.2 billion yuan ($323 million) in three phases to build the world's largest medical imaging equipment manufacturing plant in southwestern Guizhou province by 2020.

The facility will be built in Guian New Area in Guizhou, under a strategic framework agreement signed by UIH and the Guizhou provincial government in January 2016.

"Guian New Area, as a national level new area, enjoys government policy support as it builds a high-tech zone," said Zhao Ling, chief operating officer of the UIH's Guizhou branch.

"Besides, manufacturing costs in Guizhou are relatively low. That's why we chose Guizhou over coastal provinces."

The first phase of the project, an intelligent manufacturing line in Guian, began operations at the end of last year. According to Zhao, the value of its output to date has exceeded 50 million yuan. The facility mainly serves as a medical big data center and produces high-end medical equipment.

"We are about to start the construction of phase II by the end of 2017, and phase III by 2019," Zhao said.

Apart from the manufacturing line in Guizhou, UIH has a industrial center in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. Overseas, in May this year, it also opened production facilities in California.

According to a report by Firestone Inventing, a consulting company specializing in the medical industry, 402 Chinese companies produce medical imaging equipment, accounting for only 10 percent of China's market share.

However, the market potential is huge. The report said the market size of medical imaging in China is estimated to grow to 600 billion to 800 billion yuan by 2020.

Wang Rongpin, director of the radiology department at Guizhou Provincial People's Hospital, said that UIH had progressed remarkably, expanding to be one of the world's leading high-end medical equipment makers in a short period.

"We have digital X-ray radiography equipment made by UIH in our department, which has the same high-definition image quality as imported products," Wang said.

"However, the price is lower and the design fits Chinese users better. We are satisfied with the operating system."

According to UIH's Zhao Ling, before 2014, locally made equipment had a lower market share compared with international brands such as General Electric Co and Siemens AG.

After several years of research and development, however, UIH was awarded patents for its core technology. The company said its advanced medical equipment gained widespread recognition in 2014.

UIH mainly sells products to the Chinese market, and its products are also exported to Europe, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asian countries.

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