Roche Holding AG expects sales at its diagnostics unit to climb more than 20 percent in Asia-Pacific markets this year, helped by healthcare spending in China.
Aging populations, sedentary lifestyles and economic growth are spurring demand for Roche's machines and tests to diagnose medical conditions, Roland Diggelmann, head of Roche's diagnostics unit in the Asia-Pacific region, said in an interview in Singapore yesterday.
Roche, the world's biggest provider of machines and tests for analyzing blood, tissue and bodily-fluid samples, is benefiting from China's 850 billion-yuan ($125 billion) plan to make healthcare affordable to more people. The Basel, Switzerland-based company employs more than 700 workers at its diagnostics unit in China. Diggelmann said it will add about 100 in 2010.
"A big part of the growth is coming out of China," he said. "The sheer size of the market and also the focused investments into the Chinese healthcare system" will make it a key driver of sales growth for the foreseeable future, he said.
Roche controlled about 21 percent of the blood, tissue and bodily-fluid analysis market in the Asia-Pacific region in 2008, ahead of Abbott Laboratories with 14 percent and Siemens AG with almost 12 percent, the company said, citing the latest data from Clearstate Pte, a Singapore-based market research company.
China is the biggest market in Asia for Roche's diagnostics business, with revenue rising almost 50 percent in 2009, Diggelmann said. The division's Asia-Pacific sales expanded 25 percent last year to 986 million Swiss francs ($924 million) in constant-currency terms, about double the industry's growth, he said.
Global revenue from the diagnostics division increased 9 percent on the same terms to 10.1 billion francs last year, accounting for 20 percent of total revenue, Roche said Feb 3. The Asia-Pacific region and Europe, the Middle East and Africa contributed most to growth, the company said.