Bayer eyes 20% annual growth in China

Like its Big Pharma brethren, Bayer is casting a gimlet eye on the drug market in China. The company says it's aiming for 20 percent-plus annual growth in China for each of the next five years. Most forecasts show Chinese healthcare growing at a 20 percent clip yearly, and the German company means to expand there faster than the market does to keep its market-share lead there.

Bayer currently operates four manufacturing plants in China and has plans to finish a $39 million expansion of one facility in Beijing that makes aspirin, diabetes meds, and other drugs. Last week, the company wrapped up its $156 million buyout of over-the-counter cough and cold meds from China's Topsun Science and Technology Quidon Gaitianli Pharmaceutical. And yesterday after its Chinese growth pledge--but not only because of it--ING reiterated its "add" rating for Bayer stock.

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