Local medical equipment production breached 4 trillion won (US$3.9 billion) last year for the first time. The local medical equipment industry edged up by 5.9 percent in size from the previous year, but the trade deficit stayed put. However, on the back of stimulated export to emerging markets, the trade deficit seemed to narrow.
According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) on May 13, the local medical equipment production stood at 4.2 trillion won (US$4.1 billion) last year, 8.9 percent up from the previous year’s 3.9 trillion won.
The global medical equipment market size is about US$328.4 billion, and the local economy ranked 11th following the U.S. Japan, and Germany.
Last year’s production growth owed to an export increase to emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Thailand, and Malaysia. However, the growth rate went down from the previous year (15.2 percent).
By item, dental implants topped the list at 556 billion won (US$544 million) in production due to an export boost and health insurance coverage that is scheduled to begin in July. It is followed by ultrasonic video image diagnostic devices (513 billion won, US$502 million), dental precious metal alloy (136 billion won, US$133 million), soft contact lenses (128 billion won, US$125 million), vision correcting glass lenses (121 billion won, US$118 million) in production. Soft contact lense production jumped 29.7 percent year on year, attributable to the rise in aesthetics demand.
By company, Austem Co. ranked number one with 397 billion won (US$388 million), followed by Samsung Medison (269 billion won, US$263 million), and GE Healthcare Korea (172 billion won, US$168 million), and the top 30 companies accounted for 44.2 percent of the total production.
The industry size stood at 7.2 trillion won (US$7 billion), up 5.9 percent from 2012 while the trade deficit shrank to 407.4 billion won (US$398 million) on the back of the export increase. The deficit reduction saw a whopping 43 percent from 2012’s 715 billion won (US$699 million).
Last year, medical equipment exports rose to US$2.4 billion, 19.8 percent up year-on-year, while imports (US$2.73 billion) saw tiny growth of 4.9 percent, ameliorating the trade deficit.
This is because exports surged to emerging countries such as China,(145.9 percent), Brazil (84.7 percent), Thailand (168.4 percent), and Malaysia (169.4 percent). The trade balance turned black with Italy and Australia.