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Japan's Santen begins work on world's biggest eye product plant

By He Wei in Shanghai | | Updated: 2021-04-27 14:21
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Santen Pharmaceutical, a leading ophthalmic company from Japan. [Photo/]

Santen Pharmaceutical, a leading ophthalmic company from Japan, broke ground of its largest plant worldwide in East China's Suzhou city on Thursday, aiming to serve the country's surging demand for eye health products.

Construction of the manufacturing site, spanning 126,000 square meters, is scheduled to be completed in 2023 and become operational by 2026 or 2027, according to Takayuki Yamada, managing director of Santen China business.

"The plant will significantly boost company capacity for manufacturing prescription ophthalmic solutions, meeting emerging demand in business operations in China," said Yamada. The company said some 840 million eye drops are expected to be produced from the new site.

China currently accounts for around 10 percent of the company's overall revenue, second after home country Japan. But Yamada anticipated the nation to become the largest single market by 2030, fueled by robust growth in both juvenile myopia-related business and the aging population eye health issues such as glaucoma.

"I think the 'Healthy China 2030' is a great opportunity for us, given that the awareness of eye diseases is increasing…and government initiatives and policies are being implemented," he said.

For instance, regarding myopia prevention among the younger generation, the government is carrying out a lot of activities across the country to "make sure screenings are done in each school and keep track of the progression of each and every single child in China", he said.

Yamada also praised the central and local governments' support in creating an environment that facilitates foreign companies to operate locally in China.

"They helped us a lot going through different processes within the government and streamlined procedures…we are very comfortable about bringing more investment into China," he said.

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