Goldman: China's No. 1 pharma will be Pfizer

Which drugmaker is best positioned to grow in China? We might have said Bayer, considering it has a head start with sales teams and products in place, even in the hinterlands. But Goldman Sachs would disagree. The investment bank did a review of Pfizer and decided--you guessed it--that the world's biggest Big Pharma firm is ahead of every other Western drugmaker in China.

Emerging markets are the apple of every pharma's eye these days. And because of its huge population and its current efforts at healthcare reform, China is attracting lots of that attention.

According to ChinaBio Today (via Seeking Alpha), Pfizer has said that it aims to boost its share of the Chinese drug market to 6 percent over the next three years. It's now about 4 percent. Meanwhile, 58 percent of Pfizer's $48.3 billion* revenues in 2008 came from outside the U.S., with 13 percent of net sales from Asia.

Goldman predicts emerging markets will account for $3.5 billion of Pfizer's revenues by 2012, with a whopping $3 billion of that coming from China. That's 85 percent. To that end, Pfizer has been investing in China even as it has cut back elsewhere. It's beefing up its sales force in the country, and at the other end of the pipeline, it's working with Chinese contract research firms and universities. And in consolidating its research operations, it kept its R&D hub in Shanghai. 

- read the Seeking Alpha piece

Editor's note: The article originally stated that Pfizer's revenue was $4.5 billion.