Bayer plots faster product launches in China

Bayer is optimistic about China's growth prospects and its own ability to reap the benefits. Bayer Schering Pharma head Chris Lee predicts that, within a decade, China's medical market will be almost 10 times as large as it is now. That translates into $80 billion a year by 2013, compared with $25 billion last year. And by 2020, he predicts it will be about $220 billion.

The company plans to pick up the pace of new-product launches there to take advantage of that rapid expansion. Bayer intends to introduce 20 products in China over the next five years, Lee said at a briefing in Beijing (as reported by Reuters). That's an average of four products a year, compared with three new products launched in 2009.

These plans come on the heels of an Asian reorganization earlier this year, in which the company set China aside as its own region. That's because China became one of the company's top three markets last year, with sales of 530 million euros, or $709.3 million, up 28 percent from 2008. Now, the company plans to plough 100 million euros into China over the next five years.

Bayer isn't alone in targeting China for big growth. And the benefits of the country's new focus on healthcare are set to begin soon: The government plans to grow its list of reimbursable medicines is a potential boon for foreign drugmakers. But Bayer must figure there's plenty of growth to go around. "We have an ambitious plan, and we think that we can continue to grow, positioning ourselves as one of the fastest and one of the leading heatlhcare and pharmaceutical companies in China," Lee said.

- see the Reuters article