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China Pharmaceutical Chain Industry Report, 2007-2008

Published: Jul/2008

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Pharmaceutical industry is called as "eternal sunrise industry", mainly because of its sustained growth in market demand. The main factors driving the growth in market demand of China's pharmaceutical industry include economic growth, improved people's awareness of self-health care, the process of aging population and urbanization and full start-up of health system reform, which has greatly promoted the ability and willingness of medical consumption. China's demand for medical industry in the future will maintain a rapid growth. According to the forecasts of IMS, China will become the seventh largest pharmaceutical market in the world in 2009 and will jump to the second largest one with a market capacity of US$220 billion after the U.S.A. in 2020

According to the latest statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics, the sales revenue of China's pharmaceutical industry in the first five months of this year revenue reached CNY271.78 billion, up 26.63% year on year. In 2007, the sales revenue reached CNY575.4 billion, rising 21.5% year on year. The average growth rate of sales revenue of China's pharmaceutical industry in the recent ten years exceeded 20%, far higher than GDP growth rate in the same period. Moreover, the profit growth rate of China's pharmaceutical industry in the past two year was much higher than the growth rate of sales revenue. The total profit of China's pharmaceutical industry in the first eleven months of 2007 reached CNY49.9 billion, jumping 51% year on year. In 2008, the industry continued maintaining the momentum of fast growth, and the total profit of the industry in the first five months of this year stood at CNY26 billion, 41.4% year on year, which is mainly attributed to government support and industry restructuring.

Sales Revenue of China Pharmaceutical Industry, 2001-2008

Source: ResearchInChina

Due to impact of many factors including mainly price competition and market disorder, China's pharmaceutical chain industry was in the doldrums in the past four years in general. However, the industry had a turn for the better in 2007 after experiencing industry restructuring and gradually improved corporate operation in 2006. In 2007, net profit rate of China Top 100 pharmaceutical chain companies reached about 3%, higher than that in the previous year, and the growth rate of profit reached 56.2%, far higher than the growth rate of sales revenue.

Although we are optimistic about our forecast of potential of market development, too fast expansion of pharmaceutical chain industry in large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen has made market in these large cities tending to be saturated. Rising cost, price competition, new medical reform and other factors have made medium- and small-sized drugstores more and more difficult to survive. It is increasingly clear that China should further restructure its pharmaceutical chain industry to raise industrial concentration degree, which is a very good opportunity for those powerful companies to further strengthen their presence in the industry.  

The report is based on the authoritative statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Health, the State Food and Drug Administration, the China Association of Pharmaceutical Commerce and China Drugstore website as well as information from annual financial reports and websites of some key companies.

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