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Straumann Group aims high for the Chinese market | Updated: 2019-11-24 13:33
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The Straumann Group, a world leader in esthetic dentistry, has geared up to fully tap into the clear aligner market in China. Gilbert Achermann, Chairman of the company's board, told China Daily on the sidelines of the China Congress of International Team for Implantology (ITI) in Beijing over the weekend.

In China, as part of the localization efforts, the company has just inked a deal with a local aligner company based in Tianjin, which is believed to help speed up its overall plan to enter the world's second largest market of tooth correction, he said.

China is definitely the driving force in Straumann's Asia Pacific market due to its huge emerging middle class and increasing dental care and oral beauty awareness among the public, according to Patrick Loh, head of the company's APAC. China now accounts for more than 65 percent of the company's Asian Pacific business.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Straumann's entering of China. "Straumann China is committed to bringing the world's top esthetic solutions to Chinese patients," said Loh. Straumann has attached great importance to the Chinese market and set up three offices in China, respectively in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and plans to establish newer ones in Wuhan and Chengdu.

Achermann recognized that China had become one of the leaders and front runners of dental treatment and research worldwide and a top priority market for the company.

Globally China is among the top five or 6 countries of the overall business in implant dentistry and is gaining importance day by day, he added.

"Over the past 20 years Straumann has established itself as the No1 or leading player in tooth replacement in China – our top priority is to maintain it," he said.

Over the past 20 years, "for me it has been a hugely fascinating journey or transformation in China. The degree of sophistication of both dental professionals and the patients has changed dramatically here," he said.

At first, it's mainly a public sector type of dental treatment in China and over the years the private sector has been emerging and becoming an important part of dental care, facilitating the overall growth of dental care market, he recalled. Apart from tooth replacement solutions – which include implant systems, tissue and bone regeneration products, CADCAM prosthetics, and digital systems, the company eyes for the new front of clear aligner in China and the world.

Factors like digitalization in dental care and emerging customer demands prompt the company to enter into the new arena of tooth correction, according to Achermann.

"Digitalization has huge impact on dentistry in terms of scanners, treatment planning, and 3-D printing and can be largely applied in both tooth implanting and correction.

In addition many of our restoring customers also perform tooth correction with aligner.

So for us it's natural next step and more consumer-oriented to enter the aligner business," he said.

China, projected by the industry as the world's second largest market of clear aligner market, is valued substantially by the company.

Furthermore, "we are making strategic plans for China looking into sectors like manufacturing and R&D," he said.

Besides marketing, selling, and training the company are also eyeing for innovation and manufacturing here, which will probably happen next year, he added.

The training and education among the clinicians, as Loh said, is always a focus. The ITI China Congress, held every three years, aims to promote the concept of evidence-based medicine, spread the knowledge and technology of planting as well as the regeneration of relevant organizations through this professional training, so as to serve the dental professionals and to modernize dental technology through comprehensive quality education and innovative research for the benefit of the patient.

Also, "we've started consumer awareness programs like a recently launched patient insurance scheme, to improve public access into the dental care, particularly the aligner treatment," he said.

Achermann agreed adding that over the time, the reach to the consumers in terms of awareness creating and education will be of increasing importance in dentistry. 

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